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Howard Richards

August 5th wanted to write a poem in blank verse as simple as George Mackay Brown who I heard reciting some of his poems about Orkney on BBC4 last night.


The Village

by Howard Richards


Old time worn village snuggles in the valley,

Houses red brick and honey limestone

Wakes slowly from sleep,

As mist rises off the brook


The summer’s sun not yet above the hill

An early walker out in morning air

Pacing upwards fast

Towards the big house


In places sheep crop pasture in vista-avenue

Lined with fragrant limes and tall slick beeches

Where threads of vapour drift

From warmed undergrowth


Village dwellings catch the first rays of sun

Reflecting their intense golden colour

And from its notched tower

The church clock strikes seven




Stirrings of traffic drive fast through the streets

Commuters and school runs with uncaring mums

By nine all is quiet

Save for twittering


Grey-black Jackdaws, shiny purple sheened rooks

Squawk and kaah in tall dark leafy maples

Tending their coarse nests

And hungry juveniles


High above now, in the bright blue sky, the sun

Casts ever shortening muted shadows

Where sheep lie in scant shade

Below the meadow tree


People enter the Red Lion and Rose and Crown

For lunch of ham and eggs and English beer

Or other choices

From the chalked up slate



Time slows as the hot afternoon progresses

Soporific, the village settles back

Harbouring its secrets

Behind closed windows


Two bells ring signifying the half hour

Mums ready for the regular school run

To fetch their noisy brats

With roaring four by fours


Shadows lengthen away from the setting sun

A fiery red glow lights up the high street

As the red orb goes down

Leaving wine streaked cloud


Evening drinks in gardens as twilight comes

With darkening sky, the street lights glimmer

Time for slumber once more

Silence falls throughout





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