Begone Before We Weep, Young Vicar, Go

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On the occasion of the Reverend Ben Rundell-Evans’ last Holy Communion service at St. John the Baptist, Devizes, before his departure to Upper Stour

We’ll miss you in the vestry, little priest
And in the choir where we hear you sing
And at the altar where you share the feast
On Sunday mornings.  Nineteen bells to ring
In Stourton, Bourton, Kilmington, and Zeals
Three sets of six, and one for chiming hung
And practices on Mondays – silent peals
Unspoken hymns of glory softly sung
We’ll miss you, little priest.  You tidy up
The vestry, and are humorous and kind
The reverence with which you hold the cup
Is absolute.  And oh, your lively mind –
So wise for one so young, so good to know
Begone before we weep, young vicar, go

© Gail Foster 6th December 2019

If Greta’s Right

If Greta’s right, then we might have to give
our cars up, and stop flying and perhaps
stop eating meat – why how’s a man to live
without a car as big as other chaps

If Greta’s right (how can she be, she’s just
a girl, and what is more she’s slightly odd)
We’ll have to live on lettuce, and a crust
And shiver, and in winter go unshod

That Greta’s wrong. That’s easier to say
Much easier than looking at ourselves
It’s not as if we’ll live long anyway
Sod Greta. Pile the plastic on the shelves

And light the sky up bright with fossil fuels
The children lie. The scientists are fools.

© Gail Foster 23rd September 2019

 

Bus Stop Equinox

Bus Stop Equinox by Gail Foster

A sonnet on the subject of the Autumn Equinox,
and being at the bus stop at Avebury

Has Summer gone? Oh God, she was divine
Those crazy kisses, that incessant heat
Last seen by The Red Lion on the street
And off to Swindon on the 49 –
Another bus is coming, so it’s fine
That Autumn makes an old heart skip a beat
Her hazy colours, and her scents as sweet
As blackberries that tumble from the vine

We stand here by the bus stop, and the breeze
Blows chillier than yesterday – we wait
She won’t be long, although she’s sometimes late
(Devizes traffic, everyone agrees)
Less leaves than yesterday – we watch them fall
She has to come from Trowbridge, after all

© Gail Foster 21st September 2019

Quis? Ego

~ on the anointing of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

So what if it was just a drunken dare
Quis? Ego! Made at Eton long ago
I dub thee Boris of the Golden Hair
Servus, servum, servi, servo, servo
So what if afterwards they went to town
and ordered tiny sparrows stuffed inside
six rare exotic birds and chased it down
with virgins’ tears in mouths so open wide
one could believe designed to fit the poor
in at such times there are no partridges
Amo! Amas! Deus! Deum! and more
Dom Perignon! To Boris! Boris is
The Chosen One! So long ago, the dare
At Eton, or more probably, elsewhere

© Gail Foster 24th July 2019

Oh God, It’s The Conservatives

Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
Dear, must we have them round for tea?
They’re such a shifty bunch of spivs
Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
As slimy as and armed with shivs
For stabbing those who disagree
Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
Dear, must we have them round for tea?

Oh God, it’s Johnson and McVey
and Sayid Javid. He’s a cock
And Gove and Raab have come to play
Oh God, it’s Johnson and McVey
I’m frightened. Make them go away
Be quiet and ignore the knock
Oh God, it’s Johnson and McVey
and Sayid Javid. He’s a cock

Oh God, they’ve seen us. Gove is at
The window waving. Now we’re fucked
Coee! Says Sayid. Rat a tat!
Oh God they’ve seen us. Gove is at
The door with Andrea, and that
Is Johnson with his shirt untucked
Oh God, they’ve seen us. Gove is at
The window waving. Now we’re fucked

Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
Too late to stop them coming in
And cutting lines up with their shivs
Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
All bullshit and superlatives
Lock up your daughters and the gin
Oh God, it’s the Conservatives
Too late to stop them coming in

© Gail Foster 11th June 2019

 

The Stonemason

My Lady’s eyes are blind with smoke
And I must stand and watch her burn
I made her out of stone and oak
My Lady’s eyes are blind with smoke
And flames are catching on her cloak
I pray to God the wind will turn
My Lady’s eyes are blind with smoke
And I must stand and watch her burn

I made her out of oak and stone
And blue and red and light and glass
My Lady mine and mine alone
I made her out of oak and stone
Of blood and sweat and broken bone
But God has spoken ~ all things pass
I made her out of oak and stone
And blue and red and light and glass

Her smoking beauty burns my eyes
But I will raise her up again
Her ashes fill the Paris skies
Her smoking beauty burns my eyes
Behold the Phoenix! See her rise!
What mysteries God speaks to men
Her smoking beauty burns my eyes
But I will raise her up again

© Gail Foster 16th April 2019

 

My Name Is Ruth ~ a Devizes rhyme

You may have heard of me. My name is Ruth
It’s written on the Cross for all to see
I cried on God as witness to the truth
And died, and here inscribed my history
The tales they told of me – they said I lied
Defied my God before I breathed my last
They said they found the money hid inside
My hand when half a century had passed
You will have heard of me. A widow, I
Came all the way from Potterne in the rain
In winter, to the Market Place, to buy
Eternal shame – I only came for grain
All Wiltshire’s heard of me. My name is Ruth
I may have lied. To God be known the truth

© Gail Foster 12th April 2019

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