Christ Church

Poems in the Porch

Mary Hustings has  a poetry plan to keep herself amused during the lockdown by choosing poems and putting them up in the porch and we are sharing it with anyone choosing to look at this page.  h.

Monday 3 August
Mary has chosen a new poem for today:
The Gardener (number 85) by Rabindranath Tagore
which is available at

Monday 6 July
Mary has chosen
- My Garden by Thomas Edward Brown available on
- Summer by John Venus our Vicar betwee
1983 and 1993 

Shouting loud the splendour of great life
Upthrusts the clear bright colour of the blatant flags
Made full by rain and drawn by the strong rays;
Man cannot meet the glare when he looks up, nor
Even bear the surging heat which dances,
Ripples and wraps him round through lifelong days.

Starring the carpet-grass with colour bright, 
Uplifting the birds’ songs in early shouts and late:
Melodies to match the dawning and the setting of their cause,
Mounts the gold ball and in its mounting makes
Ever more and more the swarming, filling, living
Ripening of the earth in hazy mists of gauze.

Souls sing as well as birds,
Uttering admiring, loving phrase, man joins the joyful noise,
Mirroring in microcosm the whole bright gladness of
Many-gloried creation, much more the great sole source,
Eternal Creator giving, promising
Richness of summer in the happy, milling madness.

So short the season here of year or life,
Unending the whole life which in this presence we can know.
Mighty the presence there met here in little prayer,
Muted our song for such a welcoming ear;
Empty our hearts, so emphasising more that
Ransoming, glaring summer-love of Summer’s Maker’s care.

Monday 22 June
Mary's poems for this week are:
-  The Look by Carol Ann Duffy at
-  In Mrs Tilscher’s Class by Carol Ann Duffy
No Man is an Island by John Donne, and
Midsummer, Tobago by Derek Walcott
The last two are both at

Monday 8 June
Mary's selection for the week is:
The Wild Things by Alan Titchmarsh, read by Alan Titchmarsh at

Foxglove Force by Fay Slimm
-  Mother to Son by Langston Hughes
-  Dreams by Langston Hughes
- Praise by R.S. Thomas
All of these are on

Monday 1 June
This week's poems chosen by Mary are:
Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The Other by R.S. Thomas

Monday 25 May
Mary started in early Spring and now we’re in Summer. Summertime is her theme of this the final selection, which she hopes you enjoy.
Starting with:
-  Summertime from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Lyrics and music go hand in hand. Instead of giving link just to the lyrics, this link takes you to an English National Opera website page featuring various performances of Summertime over the last 80 years.. And of course there are YouTube clips from many other performers if  you prefer.
Next up:
-  Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day by William Shakespeare (Sonnet 18). The link is to a reading of the sonnet on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s website, but you can of course find the sonnet on lots of websites, including poemhunter.

Seaside Golf by John Betjeman,
Cricket- A Man’s Game by Keith Oldrey
Summer in the South by Paul Laurence Dunbar
-  Summer Stars by Carl Sandburg
These last 3 are on
Mary will still put poems up in the church porch and on the JV hall noticeboard while both are shut, and we will continue to put them up on this page of our website.links up on the church website (where there is also a history of poems featured in the past)  But she won’t be doing a group e-mail, as we are now moving out of lockdown and on to other amusements. But please do feel free to continue to make suggestions to Mary.
Mary thanks everyone for playing over the last weeks, and we thank Mary for creating the initiative and doing all the hard work of identifying the poems, tracing sources and putting them up in the Church porch and around the village.. 

Monday 18 May
-  Hope is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson
-  The Village by R.S. Thomas
-   A Word to Husbands by Ogden Nash
-  One Perfect Rose by Dorothy Parker
-  The Leader by Roger McGough
 They are all on
Bird Psalm by U.A. Fanthorpe at
-  Witch- thimble, a Lost Beauty of the English Language, a foxglove. Mary was looking for a poem about Foxgloves as they are coming into flower on the Hill now. Although she failed she found a nice blog about foxglove myths with some lovely photos too. If you are interested, here it is

Next week will be Poems in the Porch Grand Finale! This was a Lockdown Project and as we are now moving out of Lockdown it has run its course. However, Mary will still put poems in the Church porch and on the JV Hall noticeboard so long as the Church and hall are closed, but she won’t be circulating a list or putting them up on this, the Church, website. 

Monday 11 May
Breadfruit  and
The Trees both by Philip Larkin
-  She Walks in Beauty by Byron
-   A Subaltern’s Love Song by John Betjeman
-   Star-Gazer by Louis Macneice 
-   Villanelle of Spring Bells by Keith Douglas (nothing to do with Killing Eve!)
  Both of these are on
If you’d like to know more about a villanelle as a type of poetry, here’s a website that explains it It was new to me!
And finally: Mary  was looking for a VE day poem or two. she came across a recently discovered poem ‘V Day’ by Edmund Blunden (from which Boris Johnson quoted during his VE Day speech according to the Imperial War Museum website). So here is the IMG website address, with background and Blunden’s original handwritten copy . 
And another finally: it’s been fun, but Mary's project is drawing to a close. Thank you for playing! If you have any limerick,  poem, comic, serious, sad, ancient, modern, children’s, you’d like featured, let Mary know. Last chance! 

Monday 4 May 
Here is this week’s collection. The list looks long but there are some quite short ones.
If by Rudyard Kipling
-  Ozymandias by Shelley
-  Poems on Time by Rabindranath Tagore
-  Lost Time by Tagore
-  Adlestrop by Edward Thomas
-  First Day at School by Roger McGough
High Flight (an Airman’s Ecstasy) by John Gillespie Magee, an American  airman killed in action in 1941, aged 19.

They are all on  (and lots of other websites too if you’re fed up with all the ads and videos on poemhunter)
And then a bit of a challenge, but as the cuckoos are arriving now I couldn’t resist:

-  Cuckoo Song, an anonymous mid 13th century  lyric. You can find it on:, but a copy is below. 
SUMER is icumen in, 
  Lhude sing cuccu! 
Groweth sed, and bloweth med, 
  And springth the wude nu— 
          Sing cuccu!          
Awe bleteth after lomb, 
  Lhouth after calve cu; 
Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth, 
  Murie sing cuccu! 
Cuccu, cuccu, well singes thu, cuccu:   10
  Ne swike thu naver nu;
Sing cuccu, nu, sing cuccu, 
  Sing cuccu, sing cuccu, nu! 
lhude - loud.   awe - ewe.   lhouth - loweth.   sterteth- leaps.   swike - cease.

Mary found if you read it out loud without thinking about the spelling, it mostly makes sense and explained that there are more up to date translations on-line. And also on-line there’s a page showing the words with the music from a beautifully decorated Medieval song sheet which you can view at

Mary hopes that they are  you enjoyed, and will change over again next Monday.
If you still have favourite poems you’d like to go up, just let Mary know. The project only stops when we run out!

Thursday 30 April's Selection
-  Warning by Jenny Joseph
A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns
Meg Merrilies by John Keats
 These are on
Fishbourne, a previously unpublished memory by John Venus, vicar of Coldharbour 1983 to 1993 

The shape’s unchanged though the longshoreman has changed, the coastguard gone
From this house where my great grandfather lived as captain.
Was this where he was photographed with hand on sword
His white beard warming his chest, stern brow beneath his braided cap?
Now it is a most desirable residence with sea frontage.
I am in the ship, we pass along the sea path parallel
To that shore to which we walked as children.
Then it was so long, especially when we walked both ways.
This walking back is happy, things look familiar,
People round here smile, we knew their parents.
How odd that in this place where little changes
There is constant coming and going, constant movement of the sea and sand.
The slipway has grown and been rebuilt a thousand times,
The ferries now are six times bigger, a cottage stood where we now land.
Most else looks just the same but yet we do not see what we saw then.
Nothing of what I see was there when I was young, fifty years ago.
I swam and sailed in this small creek, the ferries came and went,
Each an excitement in the calm day of sun and sand and
(Tho’ I remember swimming here in pouring rain – it makes no difference, so why not?)
And here we spent so many summer days, Tuesdays especially were the days;
On Tuesday from the market the beasts were driven to the boat
Kept safe in pens and then penned on the deck.
But on the slipway anything might happen, we enjoyed
Sheep everywhere despite side rails, cattle reluctant, lowing all the while;
Pigs screeched to see the water, perhaps some Gadarenegene responding.
Just now and then an animal broke through and so we saw
Cows doing dog-paddle, sheep buoyed up by fleeces, pigs screaming in alarm.
So comes a vivid memory or vague recall of all those glorious days in that small hamlet by the sea.
Now as I look the thought is vaguer, vaster, for sights may be familiar
Yet nothing that I see is what I saw so long ago.
Erosion, demolition, decantation of a hundred cars,
Here they arrive to see the unchanging island,
Then they leave, may those in them get some small part
Of that unchangingness to take with them
As I do.

December 1984, Fishbourne, Isle of Wight

-  Some words from Eeyore, from A A Milne’s Winnie The Pooh Books.
Eeyore’s thoughts on Social Distancing?
“I might have known,” said Eeyore. “After all, one can’t complain. I have my friends. Somebody spoke to me only yesterday. And was it last week or the week before that Rabbit bumped into me and said ‘Bother!’. The Social Round. Always something going on.” 
You can find more wise words from Eeyore on lots of sites. Here is one of them

And, finally:
John Rutter’s A Gaelic Blessing. You can find the words in lots of places – just one of them below is and there are plenty of sites with performances of the music if you Google it.
The next set of poems will go up on Monday. After that Mary will change them weekly and will probably stop quite soon!  But, please encourage her to keep them coming by letting her have your suggestions!

Monday 27 April's Selection
Woman Work by Maya Angelou
Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Both of which are on

Atlas by U A Fanthorpe which is at
And the People Stayed Home by Kitty O’Meara, a poem for our times,  which has several versions and an interesting back story if you Google it. Here it is:

And the people stayed home. 
And read books,  
And listened,  
And rested,  
And exercised,  
And made art,  
And played games,  
And learned new ways of being,  
And were still. 

And listened more deeply. 
Some meditated,  
Some prayed,  

Some danced.  
Some met their shadows.  
And the people began to think differently. And the people healed.  
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses,
And made new choices,  
And dreamed new images,  
And created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.


Keep the suggestions flowing!

Clare’s Poetry Fun for Kids Competition  
The poems from Claire's competition run over Easter are now on display around the village - the church porch, the JV Hall noticeboard, the phone box and the Capel Parish Council noticeboard. If you are out and about, do stop and take a look. Entry age range: 6 to 65! They are all amazing.

They are also on the Coldharbour village website -

Thursday 16 April's Selection
The Tyger by William Blake
-  Everyone Sang by Siegfried Sassoon
Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth
-  He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W.B. Yeats
You can find all these on

Thank you to the person who put  L’enfant glace by Harry Graham in the phone box. A good choice! I’ve left it up. That’s also on
Mary always welcomes new suggestions, including poems that make you smile, and  poems to appeal to kids of all ages. 

The Easter Day Selection
Abou Ben Adhem by James Henry Leigh Hunt - 
-  The Wild Rose Fairy from Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies  -
-  Sudden Spring - a previously unpublished poem written by Reverend John Venus, vicar of Coldharbour 1983 to 1993

It is hard to recollect the cold and shrivelling damp 
Which two weeks back caused hibernation.
Today in sun and lighter underwear 
(Though still Damart) 
I rode through Kent and Surrey.
No leaves were on the trees, hardly a bird sang,
And all looked quite incongruous.
The warmth was there, so were the blue sky and hazy air;
There should have been bright shirts, short skirts, 
But it is only March the seventh 
And this not St Tropez 
But Headcorn where we stopped a moment.
The warmth which fills the air soon after snow 
Comes like a resurrection after death; 
By little and little energy dies in chill, 
We seem to lose much purpose, not just strength, 
And then- 
Deep cold is past and into life 
Come fading, wilting things 
And there they are in sun and sky and earth 
As we take pause at Headcorn

The two hymns in the Church porch are: 
Jesus Christ is Risen Today, which the Roberts family played
Walking in a Garden by Hilary Greenwood (1929-2003)

Walking in a garden 
At the close of day, 
Adam tried to hide him 
When he heard God say: 
‘Why are you so frightened, 
Why are you afraid? 
You have brought the winter in, 
Made the flowers fade.’

Walking in a garden 
Where the Lord had gone, 
Three of the disciples, 
Peter James and John; 
They were very weary, 
Could not keep awake, 
While the Lord was kneeling there, 
Praying for their sake. 

Walking in a garden 
At the break of day, 
Mary asked the gardener 
Where the body lay: 
But he turned towards her, 
Smiled at her and said: 
‘Mary spring is here to stay, 
Only death is dead.’

Thursday 9 April's Selection
Today’s Poems in the Porch are:
-  These are the Hands by Michael Rosen, written for the 60th anniversary of the NHS
-  Always Marry an April Girl by Ogden Nash
Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
-  Smiling is Infectious by Spike Milligan
Thank you for helping to choose them!
The links are:
Jabberwocky and April Girl  -
Smiling is Infectious -
As 'These are the Hands' is copyrighted we are unable to provide the link to it.

Sunday 5 April's Selection
Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh – a message of optimism and hope at a difficult time
-   The Donkey by G.K. Chesterton (because it’s Palm Sunday)
-   The Wind on the Hill by AA Milne (because we live on a hill and it’s a nice gentle poem)
-   Silver by Walter de la Mare (it will be full moon on Wednesday).
 They are all on
The on-line only poem of the day because it’s too long to put up is:
Macavity: the Mystery Cat from T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (it’s just one that I like!), which you can find that at

The Initial Selection
-  Daffodils  by William Wordsworth
-  Now we are Six by AA Milne
The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear
-  Home Thoughts from Abroad by Robert Browning (Oh to be in England, now that April’s there).
 As well as reading them on the sites around the village, you can also access them on-line.
- has the Wordsworth, Lear and Browning poems
- has Now we are Six.

And there’s one poem not on any noticeboard because it’s bigger than A4: The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson (chosen for me by Mary Cooper). This is also on