Poem 48 – An Omicron Christmas

Uncertainty brings bitterness and breeds
This mental hesitation, leading us
To hover over plans and pause before
We press the button and maybe withdraw
Brand new unknowns confuse and cause unease
When experts disagree in their response
Are parties on or off this Christmas season
To hold or not to hold that is the question

Listening to the news tonight various experts were asked if Christmas gatherings should be cancelled. There was not agreement…


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 47 – A Winter Crime

Clear skies allowed a freezing night’s trespass,
A trail of frosty tracks hard evidence.
The dawn’s spotlight reveals its icy prints,
Deep etched forensics cross our car’s windscreen.
So armed with scraper in my gloved numb hand,
I set to gustily restore the scene,
And clear the way to safely drive, whilst not
Breathing, in case the mist offends my view.

Storm Arwen has departed leaving in its wake dropped temperatures, adding a extra step before my wife’s morning commute.


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 46 – Advent One

And so the Advent season starts once more
The annual wait for Jesus Christ our hope
To come in human form, the Word made flesh
Mysterious, incarnate, God with us
This year our yearning seems more keenly felt
A weary longing seeking something more
After two years of such disrupted life
Lived greyscale not in technicolour bright
With generations past and yet to come
We cry with one voice come Lord Jesus come

Today we lit the first candle in our Advent wreath and began our seasonal wait for the coming of Jesus. Like yesterday’s poem, this is an experiment with iambic pentameter, not my natural voice, but something I’d like to work on.


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 45 – Christmas Lights

They rolled the dice to choose a date to hold
November’s fayre a gamble keenly made
Who was to know this day from north to south
A fearsome wind would tear and whip and howl
Our volunteers take hold with all their strength
To stop gazebos chasing down the street
Cold visitors won’t stop but briskly pass
Their faces pale blood drained by biting teeth
The dark descends stall keepers packing up
Warm homes like sirens luring their farewell
The show may stutter, not what we had planned
But as I leave illuminated trees
Stand sparkling proudly ‘cross my cycle’s path
Not shivering nor shaking, standing strong
A testament to that first Christmas birth
Their light the darkness cannot overcome

Today our Churches Together group joined other organisations at the local town Christmas Fayre. Unfortunately, today was the day that Storm Arwen decided to blow, making the event a bit of an endurance test…


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 44 – The Visitor

A quivering scuttle
On the fringe
A spider? No…
As I turn to admire
It freezes
Like a child hiding
Behind its own hands
Believing they bequeath
The mouse stares
As I stare
Defying me
Before retreating
Releasing me from its grip

Tonight I had a visitor whilst working on Sunday’s service. As the winter weather hits, they often visit briefly seeking food before hibernating.


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 43 – The Foodbank is Open

Who withdraws from our bank?
You can probably picture the sort

I know I did, but then I saw and
Abandoned presupposition

Some breeze bold and expectant, bravely
Talking of Spurs or the traffic, whilst

Others trapped by nervous embarrassment
Hover, eyes down, glued to the door

Once in, they can’t help but spill their travails
Requiring gentle ears to collect them

Divorced architects, nurses out of credit,
The furloughed and pandemic afflicted

Cabbies with the Knowledge but
Know-how’s not enough to turn things around

From social housing, tents, flats,
Leafy suburbs, even mansions

We’re all just a coincidence from crisis, a
Cocktail of events, concocting the perfect storm

A multicultural meteorological event
With no natural immunity or vaccine

Who withdraws from our bank?
It could be you or me…

The local foodbank was started in 2012, distributing from our church Monday to Friday. It has taught me many lessons. I hope and pray it has made a difference to our guests. I know it has made a difference to me.


© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 42 – The UnProdigal Son

I knew the story but wasn’t certain
Exactly what prodigal meant
So I looked it up and I’m glad to say
That my son is not it
Although he left university bound
He didn’t have the gall
To request his share of my estate
As if I’d met my end
I’m glad to say his student loan
Hasn’t been blown upon
Wild student parties and loose living
A mad freshers’ week fling
But even though that isn’t him
It definitely doesn’t mean
I don’t love him with a father’s love
And rejoice when he comes home

Our son has been home to visit for a few days, it’s been lovely to see him!


© Ben Quant 2021

Picture: “The Return of the Prodigal Son”, by Rembran(d)t Harmenszoon van Rijn, c. 1669 (Public Domain)

Poem 41 – Water, Water…

The cliché
It’s only when its gone you that you value what you had is no
One day the taps were running full flow, the next just
A dribble, a seepage, anticlimax, there’s so much
A quick flush requires an hour to refill needing
Definitely a mystery worthy of Hercule Poirot’s
But I doubt even he could solve it, so I’ve summoned a

Waiting for the visit of a local plumber after an air bubble (I hope!) has caused an airlock in the system…

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 40 – From the New River to Top Field

We begin by strolling along the New River, ‘London’s Tap’,
Ponderously supplying the city’s water under hungover skies.
Passing a bridge that goes nowhere reclaimed by ivy,
Dry curled sycamore leaves form a path along the bank,
Protecting boots from the damp clogging clay beneath.
Today the water is dark and heavy, rolling slowly.
We look for our swans to feed but today they are absent,
Only cocky mallards traverse her dulled waters,
Even they seem subdued and stilled.
As we leave our watery guide we pass construction works,
Homes rising like the scattered oak saplings espied,
Emerging from squirrel scattered acorns perhaps.
Indeed other than us, they are the only ones moving,
Fattened, scurrying to prepare for winter hibernation,
Whilst diggers stand stationary and sites are vacant.
Perpendicular to her flow we rise from Lea Valley,
Reaching Top Field whose spectacular wildflower meadows,
Have been mown, leaving damp stalks and pregnant potential.
The dip becomes clear as we look across to the parallel rise beyond.
Departing, a momentarily surprise, a snatch of distant urbanity,
The towers of Canary Wharf winking their warning.
It seems astonishing that our haven is so near.
Leaving their gaze behind we enter Bell Lane’s woods,
A contrasting lightness, a gaiety absent before,
Leaves, sweetcorn and peas, speckling silver birch skies.
Exiting, our path crosses a field where bedraggled horses munch,
And an S shaped brook snakes between its mounds.
Momentarily they lift their necks to consider as we pass.
Back down Church Lane descending into Wormley,
Peace again broken as we return above the thundering A10.
Passing the sports club we transition from pastoral to people,
Navigating between parents’ cars parked on the verge,
Delivering budding footballers as they grasp hand warming coffees.
What views they have missed by arriving cocooned in these cabins!
Finally, the New River again lies at our feet, ready to guide us home.

Most of our daily walks involve the River Lea to the east of us, but sometimes, we take wander by the New River to the west, cut to deliver London’s water.

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 39 – Baked Apples

Two lopsided apples freshly plucked from
The branches of our garden tree hanging
Within easy reach scrubbed clean and
Checked all over for signs of wildlife

Circumference scored with small knife then
Core carved out its hollow packed with
Dried raisins and dates and sprinkled
With bittersweet cinnamon to season

Placed in an oven hot to swell a
Fruit sauna sweating juices flowing
Until soft throughout then served with
Fresh cream poured perfecting

Baked homegrown apples make a perfect autumn dessert.

© Ben Quant 2021