Res John Burman

(27th October 1942 to 'Not Yet! ' / London, Middlesex, England)

Sands of Time


Written for a Poetry Challenge. The challenge was to write a poem including sand dunes without mentioning either word, this was the result.

Take the train to Bodmin Road
They call it Parkway now
But nothing has changed
Except the sign.

Catch the bus to Padstow
Rattling and shaking
Through the Cornish
Countryside.

Did you know Cornish Drivers
Can drive as fast backwards
As forwards
Narrow lanes teach backing
Fast.

Padstow or Padstein
As they call it now
Fish smell from the harbour
Gulls call, all the time
Buy a flower!
Not a kiss me quick hat.

Look across the Camel
That’s a River not a cigarette
D’you see Brae Hill
Standing huge, rounded
Beach heaped by the wind.

Partly grass covered, tufty
Blown detritus
Of the River
Estuary. Take the ferry
Go there.

The far side of Brae Hill
Is part of a golf course
And the hill becomes
The largest bunker in the world.

Unless you count Saudi
Which is of course
All bunker
What ain’t concrete
Or hotels
Now.

Walk across the Golf Course
Beware of low flying balls!
Mostly grass but granular ground
Showing here and there.

Beyond the greens like velvet
You’ll find a little church
Tiny, once lost under
The flying wind blown
Grains of beach.

Walk through the hedge
Of tamarisk, look right
First grave you see
Lay your flower down.

Dear Sweet Poet
I hope the granular
Open grained, porous
Nature of your bed
Allows the songs to filter
Down to you there.

The song of the Sea
Beating upon Doom Bar
And the wind in the tamarisk
The song of Trebetherick
Which you loved so well
And the song I would sing to thee
Had I the sweet facility
You had with words.

Rest in Peace
John Betjeman
“Poet and Hack”
Poet Laureate
Social Climber and Knight
And lover of
Miss J Hunter Dunn.

You lie among these tiny
Wind polished grains
Of Daymer Bay
Like myriads of universes
Ground small by time
And the tide.


(22nd February 2008)

Submitted: Sunday, February 24, 2008
Edited: Sunday, February 24, 2008

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  • Mary Gordley (2/27/2008 3:45:00 AM)

    You were most certainly up to the challenge. I am very impressed with how you managed to bring those forbiden words into play without ever having to use them. (Report) Reply

  • Craig Anderson (2/24/2008 7:01:00 PM)

    It was like being taken by the hand through an oil painting of prose. Stunningly beautiful in it's descriptive Res. Best Regards. Craig.

    P.S And how is Rick Stein...? (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

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