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 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

Poem 7 – Thank you for the Harvest!

Thank you for the Harvest
For farmers who grow and reap
Sow the seed, sow the seed
Drivers to bring ingredients we need
Brum brum, brum brum
Factory workers who parcel up
Pack in the box, pack in the box
Shopkeepers who sell in their shop
Beep, beep, beep, KERCHING!
Parents who buy and cook
Sizzle, sizzle in the pan
For us to eat…..

This morning I had the joy of leading our local schools Early Years’ Harvest Service. Harvest in our relatively urban area doesn’t have the same relevance as it did in my childhood in the Cambridgeshire Fens, surrounded by farms and fields, and so I thought I’d try and bridge the gap and make harvest a thanksgiving for our food’s journey and all involved. It was a delight having a row of six children at the front acting out each part with the whole hall joining in! Perhaps my next ‘ode’ will be a more adult reflection on the relevance of Harvest in our technological age, but for now, say it out loud, make up some actions and have fun!


© Ben Quant 2021