John Rickell

John Rickell Poems

Where were you last Christmas

The mountain stream
bubbling towards the sea,
silver in the evening light
crossing hills and far away.

The long day closes,
safe with moth and fox,
silent owl and timid badger.
I wait the sun, paths tripped

It winds its drunken way
as all lanes since Chesterton,
Hedgerows, verges, centuries old
green shoots in the fields

Mozart, I antiscipate or think I can.
You suggest, imply, leave the rest
to my imagination, I wait......
A discord I know will overwhelm

Remote and lonely baritone
the first in May,
clock-work, mechanical,
two notes not to be forgotten


I danced her rhythms, long black hair
restless feet dark eyes and pouting lips,
to my shoulders stood and kissed my cheeks
promised more, if I would only wait,

There is a poppy in the garden
the first I've seen in years.
Ten years ago they left...
were they mourning for my love?

Hoardings shouting at the street,
those in buses reading as they pass
of perfume, razor blades and Guinness,
selling space and advertising

Floating half hidden from myself
buoyed on ferns and things like that
sheltered from the wind and rain
trees, shade from the sun and glare.

Statuesque, handsome, flowering
in the shade beneath wild crab
tempting as of ages, past
legends steeped in belief,

Fading light on our shoulders
welcome night turning blue to black
the mossy bank dark and secret
The kissing gate ceased its creaking

NB Sweethearts an alternative name for Cleavers; Queen Anne's Lace the flower heads of Wild Carrot.

Queen Anne's Lace silhouettes in the hedges
hawthorns bound in bindweed ties

I am in awe of nature love her as she me,
We are never far apart
woods and down the lane styles to lean,
gates tied with twine, hinges rusting, mossy green.

'What did you do at school'?
I asked.
'Drew the alphabet'
she said.

Does the rose beside the green front door
bloom as when I was youth.
Does the gate clash against the post
the spring that gave us rides

Remote and lonely baritone the first in May,
clock-work, mechanical, two notes not to be forgotten
haunting spring time solos sung from oak and ash
awakening to a spring confirmed at last.

Come sweet be my mistress
let me be your lover
desires to share and share alike.
This secret moss-deep hollow

Statuesque handsome in the shade
of the tree wild with crabs
tempting as of ages passed
legends steeped in belief

Step down into the parlour
deep window sill and flowers
early afternoon, most are drunk
just as it should on Sunday.

John Rickell Biography

I am a countryman by nature.With my retriever I am in the country most days. Living in a small market town in Shropshire UK I have been writing free verse since 1970 I am a singer of plainsong and Gregorian chant, which has significantly influenced my poetry. I have published a book of poems'A stirring in the Air'with photographs by Tom Scot, a grandson, it is being sold on Ebay by SHINE, the charity which cares for those with spinabifida.)

The Best Poem Of John Rickell

Butterfly Trapped In A Norfolk Church

Where were you last Christmas
hiding in the dust behind the altar
underneath an oaken pew
patched in darker brown, not oak
like the patch on a poor man's coat
Proudly wrought?
The peace of God around you
trapped in loving kindness,
fading altar flowers no food for you
anxious glances to the door,
the mesh obstructed door to keep out birds,
which kept you in, had I not come.
You let me take you from the sill
filled my hand with joy
bride-like walked with me along the aisle.
I threw you to the sun and wind
saw flowers tremble in delight
shake their anthers, petals open wide
‘Feed off me’ they cried.
Who needed who the most?
A winter fast complete....
cold sweet charity stayed your appetite
'til one fine day in May stirred your wings,
warmed your heart and set your tummy gurgling.
so glad I called......
I would not have prayed that day.
there were no candles in the church
but then I had no matches.
You were my pray.....
I wished you well and all your brood,
but never asked your name.

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