Poem 20 – Testing Times

Filtered faces disguise
Deep fakes deceive
Social media echo chambers
Brexit lies or frees

Fishing boats blockade
Protestors bar the way
Climate change deniers frustrate
Empty shelves just tease

Practise track and trace
Download the Covid app
Swab the tonsils jab the nose
Negative test please…

It’s been a confusing and tempestuous few years and to top it all I was just asked to take a Covid test...


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 19 – Globe Spell

To compose an ode in honour of The Bard
Whose famed lines ensnare hearts
From stages encircling this precious globe
As well as from upon it
Is a task too high to reach

Instead I shall write in praise of those
Whose mouths have uttered his enchantment
Weaving spells through speech inspired
To whisk us from this mundane life to
Distant islands, courts and faery realms

Owning this sacred space these mortals become
As gods with creator’s power to form
The world anew for a few brief acts
Transforming landscapes without and
Landscapes within

And here we dwell until the final cheer
Echoes from its stalls and as one
We rise in awe to praise before
Returning to our mortal homes
His lingering whisper remains

Shakespeare’s Globe is one of my favourite places, a haunt where magic still happens.


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 17 – Finally, Time for Bed

Past the pumpkin hour
And I’m dead beat
All day long
I’ve been on my feet
My bed is calling
A duvet treat
I’ll see you in the morning
Wash, rinse and repeat!

Day one of a three day conference I help run for our church movement. Always fantastic, an inspiring family gathering, but always full on…

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 16 – Swans in Transition

Spying us across the verdant water
The transitioning signet swims urgently
Dragging a deep dart in its wake
Once brown it’s noble ark now speckled
Flattens, reaching, pleading
Demanding food with a desperate shush

Scattered pellets bob summoning
Mottled siblings and parents to join
The royal throng that turns and tussles
Graceful wings raised in display
Becoming fierce enforcers of superiority
Sharp snaps send snowy feathers adrift

With pecking order firmly fixed
The mature monarch rules the roost
Yet young usurpers yearn for their chance
Raising their wings and wrestling
Until food finished joining those forced to flee
Calming, becoming again the beautiful bank*

Most days we take a tub of swan food down to the River Lea. Over the last couple of days there have been a significant number of swans, including yesterday one parent taking its offspring for a dramatic flying lesson. Feeding them today created a fiercely fought frenzy, most unlike the peaceful demeanour they usually display.

* Bank here has a dual meaning referring to both the river bank and the bank of swans, one of their collective nouns.


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 15 – First Post-Lockdown Gig (Reprised)

Waves of nostalgia crash
Upon that human sea
Gathered in one place to sing
Beating in unity
Arms outstretched as one reach out
Rock and roll god on view
‘Radio’, our one last cry,
‘Someone still loves you’

The final song of Roger Taylor’s set from yesterday’s gig was Radio Gaga, which he wrote. To stand in the crowd clapping the signature clap is an awesome thing, looking around seeing a see of people clapping as one. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to do this as part of the crowd at Wembley. As I did so, I found myself wondering if this will be the last time I do so with a member of the original band playing in front of me.


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 14 – First Post-Lockdown Gig

Queues ensnare the theatre
A human lassoo, snaking
Jostling for position with nervous interrogation
Is this the right one?
Reassurance offered with a shrug
I think so
Friendships of proximity initiated
Transitory, later abandoned
Once settled the lull
Nothing to do but wait
Disturbed only by the request
To check bags or Covid passes
(A disturbing novelty still)
Hidden beneath the quiet
Starting positions are taken
Twitchy, false starts repeated
Until (on your marks)
The doors (get set)
Open (go!)
Then the sprint
Eventually lights drop
Music fades
An expectant pause…

Written whilst in the queue to see Roger Taylor’s solo show at The Shepherds Bush Empire


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 13 – The Assembly

What did the world look like
When I was one of them?
I summon lost memories
To return, reveal all
Alas to no avail
That world is far away

What do they see in me?
Am I to them a friend
To be received gladly
Or a stranger remote
An alien passing through
Merely tolerated?

But as I share my tale
Offered with laughter and
Perhaps a hinted tear
In return hearing theirs
A bridge is built between
Our two worlds divided

At that point between us
Common humanity
Is briefly discovered
Imaginations meet
What seemed so disparate
Brought together, complete

One of the joys of my job as a church minister is taking school assemblies, I love it. But often as I start to speak I realise their is a gulf between us, and that’s just me and the teachers! But isn’t making contact across such divisions one of the most rewarding things?


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 12 – Magic Words

Some talk of three magic words
Don’t get me wrong, they’re great
Best followed by two truly meant
‘I love you’
‘You too’
There are another four
Their simplicity deceives
A single breath
They too are words of promise jointly made
Of traveling hand in hand come what may
Of walking into worlds unknown together
For richer or poorer
For better for worse
One lifting the other
The other trusting to be held
A covenant made
‘Once upon a time’

Only time for a quick poem today. Stuck for what to write about I reached for the classic start, only to find it became the end…


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 11 – The Red Kite & Me

From somewhere in the heavens I hear a mew.
I scan the sky searching for its source
I know she’s there somewhere.
I remember walking in Wales with the school
Amongst mountains and buzzards
And being taunted, teased for saying, ‘I like birds’.
I can still hear them snigger at my riposte
‘But I mean the feathered kind’.
Even Sir smiled to himself
But not so hidden that I did not see.
I blushed.

I spot her, suspended, wings outstretched
Serene in effortless anticipation
Owning her stage, demanding attention
Whilst giving us none.
She’s seen something scurrying below
Total focus on some distant spot.
Now sweeping for her prey, swift and precise
Not a plummet like a stone
Instead a vaulting ballerina
Poise belying the strength within
Leaping with pointed toe and silent grace
Who couldn’t be moved by the sight?

Oh, that I could learn to fly like her!
To be free from barb and piercing wit
Immune from worrying about what others think
To fly without thought or regret
Composed without and within
To soar above whisper and gossip
Held above those petty spears that stab and wound
To strut upon my stage with the natural ease
That comes from inner confidence
My ready pose demanding attention
But not pleading for it, or seeking it out
Sufficient in who I am.

I have always loved birds! Walking today in Lea Valley I spotted a red kite flying above. Once never seen, since their reintroduction, these elegant birds have become frequent visitors. Sitting down to try and capture their essence in verse, I found myself wondering why I always call them ‘she’, and found myself smiling at a teenage memory.


© Ben Quant 2021