Tag Archive: poem

greenfly‘Greenfly, it’s difficult to see

Why God, who made the rose, made thee.’

A.P. Herbert (1890-1971)

Look Back and Laugh

compost bin‘Of composts shall the Muse descend to sing,

Nor soil her heavenly plumes? The sacred Muse

Nought sordid deems, but what is base; nought fair

Unless true Virtue stamp it with her seal.

Then, planter, wouldst thou double thine estate;

Never, ah never, be asham’d to tread

Thy dung heaps, where the refuse of thy mills,

With all the ashes, all thy coppers yield,

With weeds, mould, dung, and stale, a compost form,

Of force to fertilise the poorest soil.’

James Grainger 1721-66

Celandine_Sward‘The lively breezes fleecy flocks are chasing

Across the sky; from field to field go racing

Cloud shadows, hurrying on beneath the sun.

On every side man’s work is being done,

To profit by his time when all around

The life renewed is springing from the ground.

Dawn’s chorus swells; at dusk the blackthorn’s glowing,

Hedges grow green, and chattering children stray

Along the banks where primroses are growing

With daffodils. And on this first warm day

A butterfly with sunlit, yellow wings

Goes gaily gliding by; a robin sings,

And celandines among the mosses gleam,

Casting their gold upon the busy stream.’

John (Jack) Kett,  from ‘A Late Lark Singing’ (Minerva press, 1997)

Old School Gardener

Rhubarb, Rhubarb

rhubarb-growing-l_A2Rhubarb Ted

‘I knew a funny little man

His name was Rhubarb Ted;

They called him that because he wore

Rhubarb on his head.

I’d grown so used to this strange sight,

The cause I did not seek;

But then one day to my surprise,

I saw he wore a leek.

I asked him if he’d please explain,

And let me know the reason;

He said, ‘I’m wearing leek because

Rhubarb’s out of season!’

Ann O’Connor

winter-frost-on-plants-132662203503t‘Dull dawn, grey day, and early comes the night,

Now wearisome November’s here again,

With frost to follow frost, then chilling rain,

Or fog comes stealthily, and hides from sight

The dripping world beyond the window pane.

But oh, the glory when the night is clear,

What glittering feast for eyes that scan the skies!

See Jupiter near old Orion rise,

The Bear, the Bull, and Pegasus appear,

And see, a meteor falls, and glows, and dies.

Nearby an owl is calling; now it flies

On silent, velvet wings, while all grows cold.

Frost’s icy fingers woods and fields enfold,

and touch with silver lingering leaves of gold.’

John (Jack) Kett

From ‘A Late Lark Singing’ (Minerva press 1997)

434px-Hartley_Coleridge_1‘The mellow year is hasting to its close;

The little birds have almost sung their last,

Their small notes twitter in the dreary blast-

That shrill-piped harbinger of early snows:

The patient beauty of the scentless rose,

Oft with the morn’s hoar crystal quaintly glassed,

Hangs, a pale mourner for the summer past,

And makes a little summer where it grows:

In the chill sunbeam of the faint brief day

The dusky waters shudder as they shine,

The russet leaves obstruct the straggling way

Of oozy brooks, which no deep banks define,

And the gaunt woods, in ragged, scant array,

Wrap their old limbs with sombre ivy twine.’

Hartley Coleridge

David Hartley Coleridge (19 September 1796 – 6 January 1849) was an English poet, biographer, essayist, and teacher. He was the eldest son of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge

norfolk sky by j halfieToday it rained; across the evening sky

Grey, ragged ranks of cloud now slowly pass

After the rain away, and out to sea.

Where near the old wood; from a dripping tree

Leaves, damp and yellow, fall upon the grass,

As startled pigeons from their cover fly.

A pheasant calls; gnats dance by ivy blooms;

Among the bracken blood-red brambles run.

The daylight fades, and in the scattered homes

The little windows light up one by one.

In cottage gardens now the beacons glow

Of white Chrysanthemums, defying night;

Pale, cold, the moon glides slowly into sight,

And trees across the fields faint shadows throw.’

‘October Evening’ by Jack Kett

from ‘A Late Lark Singing’ (Minerva Press 1997)

Old School Gardener

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IMG_7411I recently featured a poem by a former neighbour, Jack Kett. I’ve now picked up one of the books of his poems and thought some of these are so evocative of the landscape around me here in Norfolk, that I’d feature a few more. So here’s the first as we end September…..

‘September morning, with the warm sun growing

In warmth and brightness, scattering mists of pearl,

Which round the waking village flow and furl.

And see, the top of the church tower is glowing,

Splendid, sunlit, above the misty sea,

Now ebbing  fast to set the morning free.

Along the hedgerow countless dying weeds

Show one last beauty in their feathered seeds.

The chattering sparrows wheel, and wheel again

Across the stubble field, and by the lane,

Among the dew-drenched grasses hardly seen,

Yet showing rarely a sun-gilded sheen,

A silver maze of gossamer is spread,

While all around hang berries, richly red.’

‘September Morning’ by John Kett from ‘A late lark Singing’ (Minerva Press 1997)

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The Church in the Fields

Old School Gardener


I came across this poem the other day. It’s written by a chap called Jack Kett, a lovely Norfolk man who was a former Head teacher at the local school and lay preacher at our local church, St. Peter’s, Haveringland. He and his wife were well known local charatcers who have both now passed on. Many of Jack’s poems describe the local Norfolk landscape.

You may recall that some of the money raised from our recent ‘Open Garden’ event is going towards the upkeep of St. Peter’s, which can be seen from our garden. This important local landmark is, sadly, no longer regularly used for church services, but it has a rich history, including having a second world war airfield plonked next to it, which has resulted in the church being a rather lonely feature in an otherwise flat landscape – the ‘Church in the Fields’.


St.   St. Peter’s Church, Haveringland

‘Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields’,

He said, ‘your lesson to learn’.

And here, in Haver’land’s fields today,

We also, in our turn,

Witness the pageant of seasons,

The ever – changing scene,

Which, where men work along with God

Turns gold, or brown, or green.


Let us remember our forbears,

Who in the years gone by

Surveyed a scene so different,

Yet under the same great sky.

The days of the Abbey, the Market,

The Manor, the Hall – all pass

Each down the road of history,

Now rubble under the grass.


Wars and rumours of wars have come

And gone, like the stately trees,

And now, where the noisy engines roared

We hear the hum of the bees.

We live in a world of changes,

Yet surely the lesson is clear –

Amidst it all, as on a rock,

St. Peter’s  stands here,


Symbol of Truths that never change,

Of a faith that never yields,

And we find the Eternal Peace of God

In His Church among the fields.


Jack Kett , 1960

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