Old Crowhurst poems

Original Crowhurst poetry from the Crowhurst News archives

To whet your appetite and get the ball rolling, here is a selection of poems that have appeared in the Crowhurst News over the years.

Firstly, some from the now famous psuedonymous Crowbard. From 1987 to 1991, a regular series of articles was submitted anonymously, posted from random locations to further the disguise. The column was called “This and That” and included eclectic musings on local events, etymology, quirky quotes and literary references, and often ended with a poem. Occasional items were received up until 1996 when local stalwart Norman Tucker died and was eventually revealed as the stealthy author.


Originally published in Crowhurst News Nov 1987, just after the Great Storm.

The crackling of branches and howling of wires,
the groaning of trees and collapsing of byres.

The splintering panes, the crashing of slates,
the flapping of fences and banging of gates.

The waking in darkness and hunting for light
and calming your children while hiding your fright.

Then checking the damage and mopping the wet
and boarding up glass and soothing the pet.

Getting help from a neighbour who used to seem ‘proud’,
and helping out others unknown until now.

Lending them this and borrowing that,
gas lamps and candles and milk for the cat.

Learning of people much worse off than we,
and sparing a prayer for poor sailors at sea.

Reflecting that science and computers and all
are helpless to forecast or stop what befalls.

Remembering with shock what we knew since our birth:
how tiny we are on the face of the earth.

Signs of Spring

Originally published in Crowhurst News Mar 1988

Snowdrops, snowdrops!
Shout it from the housetops!
Each dainty white bell
is ringing winter’s knell.

Crocuses, oh crocuses!
On you our next hope focusses.
Fine petals, golden stamens,
all adding their own amens
to our prayers for the rebirth
of mighty Mother Earth.

Ah daffodils, dear daffodils!
You’ll bring us even greater thrills
when your yellow trumpets warn
the world that Spring is born…
And gardeners that they’d better start to mow that blasted lawn!


Originally published in Crowhurst News Nov 1988

In spring and summer, your common garden snails
are all vagabonds who leave long slimy trails,
who mountaineer with skill up pots and pails
and meet a messy end beneath hob nails.

In warmer days they eat and meet and mate;
in winter though, they merely hibernate,
stuck to each other’s shells in sleeping state,
clamped underneath a brick or tile or slate
until some unknown far-off springtime date.

I envy them their smooth and brittle shell,
their dainty eyes on slender stalks as well.
I don’t know what they see or taste or smell,
but that they pay no mortgage where they dwell!
Cos all year round their house is on their backs,
and they’ve never even heard of income tax.

We Lucky Ones

Originally published in Crowhurst News May 1990 – some local knowledge required here…

How good to live in Crowhurst
where the air is fresh and sweet;
where woods are bright with bluebells,
and distant lambkins bleat.

Where it’s super just to ramble half a mile down Forewood Lane,
admire Chas ChaIwin’s cabbages, then amble on again.
Across the leafy churchyard to chat with that old Yew
(’bout a thousand years old and it knows a thing or two).
Then watch the schoolkids at their play, as bright as butterflies;
a happy time, a happy school, you see it in their eyes.

Nearby you’ll meet Bill Vernon’s cows, black and white with moist pink noses;
they give us milk as well as “mud” – that’s great stuff for the roses!
Now wander to the stream and bridge beside the P.O. stores,
close by D. Wilson’s busy patch of iron dinosaurs.
You’re thirsty? There’s the Plough and Inn, choose either of the two,
‘cos one mine host’s a Darling, and the other’s clued-up too.

The Village Hall has Flower Shows and Jumble Sales galore
where you can snap up thingummies then wonder what they’re for.
Down at the Rec the children climb on solid rustic frames
while other solid rustics play their thrilling cricket games,
though some spectators fall asleep (I’d better name no names).

What luck to live in Crowhurst
where folks know and help each other.
Let’s keep our village neat and sweet,
and pick up litter in the street,
and keep a watchful weather eye
on Hastings and the Rother!

Decisions, decisions!

Originally published in Crowhurst News April 1990

‘Can I tempt you to join our Committee?’
It was Madam the Chair on the phone.
In a moment of meekness,
a spasm of weakness,
I said ‘yes’ to the charming old crone.

Now once ev’ry month it’s my duty
to switch off the telly and run
to sit with my peers
(a right bunch of old dears)
deciding what ought to be done.

Oh we’re doing good work for the village
by numbing our bums at the Hall.
We’re active and clever –
without our endeavour,
well, nothing would happen at all!

There wouldn’t be Groups, Clubs or lectures,
There wouldn’t be Jumbles or Walks.
Great galloping whoredom!
We’d all die of boredom
or tear out our hair by the stalks.

Committee work makes one so thirsty:
We’re a hard-talking deep-drinking lot.
Our meetings and quorums
make Darlings and Corams
as rich as they tell us they’re not.

Oh we’re doing good work for the village
by numbing our bums at the Hall.
We’re active and clever –
without our endeavour,
well, nothing would happen at all!

I admit now and then comes the feeling
I’ve simply had more than enough.
I’d resign then and there
but I’m scared of La Chair:
her tongue can be terribly rough!

Ah well, that’s committee life – tough.


Originally published in Crowhurst News March 1991

A curtain of white fell all day,
then at night in a silvery gleam
like a moonwalk or dream,
how black were the branches,
how dark was the stream!

All the world became young in a landscape of fun,
as toboggans and sleds were dragged out of sheds,
and others made tracks for some big plastic sacks …
Then SLALOM! No trouble! Husky fathers bent double …

Oh the aching of backs and freezing of toes,
the snowballs that burst on your neck or your nose;
the falling on botts and drying of tots …
The curses of drivers, the train-travel jitters,
the waiting for Rother to send us their gritters;
the saving for birds each available crumb,
and hoping (if pipes burst) that plumbers will plumb …

And as for the gear that was worn in the snow,
it certainly made an incredible show!
There were mountain boots, moonboots, ornery wellies,
blue boots and pink boots, the colours of jellies:
balaclavas and Russki hats, wool things with bobbles:
ear muffs and mittens and duffels with toggles …
plus very new ski suits (whose wearers till now
had only been seen on the piste at the Plough ) …

Ah well, all the kids had a wonderful week,
with whole days off school — joy at its peak.
But the week slithered by with a whizz and a rush:
to leave us with mem’ries, and chilblains,
and SLUSH!


Originally published in Crowhurst News Feb 1993

Why are we rude to cabbages,
those green and useful things?
Why call dull slow folk ‘cabbages’?
Why ‘cabbages and kings’?

A cabbage hides in curly leaves
its firm and faithful heart,
then waits in modesty for us
to tear it all apart

and cook it, which will leave a smell
that some detest, but I adore:
it speaks of comfort, simple joys
and Mother’s roasts of years before.

Tap tap, bleep bleep

Originally published in Crowhurst News May 1993

Which evil for writers is lesser:
A pen or a new word processor?
With one your wrist aches,
With t’other MIStakes
Bedevil the wrong-key-depressor.

Oh bring back the feathery quill
That tickled the nose of old Will!
Though I daresay the Bard
Would have found life less hard
If he’d had any key-bashing skill.

And here’s a few from some other contributors:

The Game by Juliet Moth

Originally published in Crowhurst News Sept 1986

‘Just thrash it hard against the wall
and get it back to the T,’
was the first advice I ever got
and seemed quite sound to me.

But there’s a bloke I played with once
who simply went too fast
and though he didn’t sweat a bit
he left me quite aghast!

Just one slight move from side to side
and he scored every time,
I didn’t even get a glimpse
of that ball of mine.

On hearing the news that Pete Linfield had died – by Mc. C.

Originally published in Crowhurst News Nov 2005

I wondered why the sun took so long to rise,
Why the baleful sky was slow to shed its gloom,
Why the village, so quiet and so dark,
Failed today to rush to greet the day.

And then I heard that you ……
that you had left today.

I wondered why the phone’s shrill screech
Had wakened up my day,
Why the answering voice was quiet and dismayed.
I wondered why the footsteps
Trod so slow to tell the tale.

And then I heard that you …..
that you had left today.

The message came from just along the road,
Had wound its way to Italy and beyond
Returning with the dawn,

To bring the message
That you have gone.

A Farm Walk by Bob Antink

Originally published in Crowhurst News Oct 1999

I sometimes wander lonely, over the farm on which I toiled,
jobs once so neatly done, now by and large quite spoiled.
Hedgerows once trimmed so tidily, always then by hand,
growing out and growing wild, spreading over the land.

Farmers may not have time today, to stop encroachment into field,
although with shrinking acreage, they often treble yield.
It’s rare to meet anyone as I go quietly on my way,
maybe the occasional contractor to pass the time of day.

I stand on a spot and remember as a boy, over fifty years ago,
with carter, cowmen and labourer, working overtime with hoe.
We were there to “single” mangolds and marrow stem kale,
that evening something happened to turn us deathly pale.
As we hoe’d a “flying bomb” crashed down and gave us a fright,
it seemed it must fall on us but luckily veered off to our right.
Soon we heard that awful bang but never got the blast,
we had reached the ditch by then and I was far from last.

From the stable in the morning, by mid-afternoon back again,
horses worked almost silently, with only the rattle of chain.
Bread and cheese for horsemen, with a bottle of cold tea,
a feed of oats and chaff for horse, and half-hour tethered to a tree.

I reach the field I ploughed in, one cold and bitter day,
old Adams, shivering, came for a natter but quickly turned away.
I almost envied the bunnies’ fur coats, cosy in their burrow,
but I stuck it out until snow started to fill the furrow.
Late in the day by then, soon I was farmyard bound,
no use anyway when Jack-Frost had tightened his grip on ground.

I see water still gushing from a pipe I put there years before,
an overflow from the duck-pond above, of that I’m very sure.
I notice a fir that’s been dead for some little while,
it was young and green when nearby I built that stile.

I’m nearing the end of my walk today, passing chestnut wood,
forsaken now, trees fallen where once they stoutly stood.
Not far to go, just under the railway and on down the track,
already thinking it won’t be many weeks before I’m back,
I’ve not covered everything there’s more I will tell,
when I go in another direction at the place I love so well.

Keep Fit by Juliet Moth

Originally published in Crowhurst News Oct 1986

I’ve really got to get in shape,
To keep my body supple
Or everything will start to droop,
And then there will be trouble.

My waist will start to disappear
Beneath the falling mass,
As gravity affects the boobs
Which have no strength alas!

I’ll try to hold my stomach in,
With muscles far too slack.
It’s easier with my bottom,
I seem to have the knack!

If the underarms start to sag,
Then long sleeves become a must,
And so do high necked dresses
To cover up the bust.

My neck will go all droopy,
My thighs dimpled and fat,
And when the face begins to sag,
Well, that’s the end of that.

Still – my eyesight’s not improving,
So perhaps it’s to be hoped
That by the time they get unbearable
I won’t know till I’m groped!

My Dog by Madeline

Originally published in Crowhurst News Dec 2002

The one who listens when I talk,
The one who cheers my lonely walk,
The one who nuzzles when I cry,
The one who comforts when I sigh.

Who else could match my every mood?
Who else would feast on scraps of food?
Who else would prompt this monologue?
Who else but you…
My loving dog.

Inspired? Get writing…


Latest poems How to enter