Park Bench Tales and other writings

Thoughts and writings reflecting the poet within and the activist

1 Comment

The Eagle and The Dove

The eagle and the dove

Wings spread and flapping the landing not too carefully timed

An arrival that was loud and raucous a most unusual kind

Then strutting along the ledge squawking at those below

Claiming he had the answers to all they needed to know

The message rang out ‘Listen carefully to me’

‘For I am the only one who can set you free’

A small white bird perched in an olive tree upon a bough

Had cooed a peaceful lullaby whilst the wind did sough

Was somewhat perplexed by the brashness of the claim

They had the freedom of the skies’ she heard herself exclaim

But the softness of her voice was soon drowned

By the brashness of a bird wanting to be crowned

Yet although the words of the eagle really sounded so absurd

He kept repeating his lies and this is what the people heard

‘I rule the world because I am a celebrity

The greatest one there’s been throughout history’

He had to be the only person on the stage

And he would show his sharpened talons with his rage

The dove looked on and felt that there should be paths to peace

Surely the birds would realise that hatred should cease

Each bird should have a say in avian democracy

Not be a slave unto the eagle’s anarchy

The robin and finch were equal to the vulture and the hawk

But the dove’s words were drowned by the eagle’s squawk

An incarceration of opponents the eagle sought to berate

‘It’s just free speech’ called the crow ‘Nothing more than fair debate’

But the peaceful dove was faced with volleys of arrows carrying hate

‘Our birds first’ the eagle cried ‘The others we must exterminate’

Was it a madness of the eagle’s mind or was it simply age

As he babbled on and on and on with ever-increasing rage?

The dove could see the nightmare that the eagle claimed was a dream

An eagle that glorified himself was simply an arrogant drama queen

The message from the dove was that of showing care

Where those in need were helped by those who would share

Each bird would act in the interests of all and not the self

Survival of all birds that was ensured by every bird’s health

Now two forces that seemingly must always oppose

Must be united and healing be a source from which love grows

Strength and peace both have a time and place

Yet force used for evil selfishness will bring a fall from grace

The dove’s wish was that all might live in harmony together

In a world where incitement of hate was banished forever

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2021

Leave a comment

The Big Match

The Big Match

We sat beside them on at bus and played together at the school

Met up at weekends to go fishing by the pool

But on this one afternoon they were the opposition

For ninety minutes they would be the enemy

The subject of our village rivalry

The elders had laid out the battlefield

With fencing stakes to mark the goals

Bamboo poles with mother’s rags

Served to mark four corner flags

An enthusiastic father had marked out the boundary lines

Jim’s dad say we could use his garden shed as the changing room

Some had shirts and shorts and even proper socks

We all had leather boots and were ready for the fray

Taking the field to cheers from mums and dads the warrior way

Who would be the victors and emerge triumphant on the day

Whilst the vanquished would be left to plan for another year

The whistle blows ‘Onward lads’ we’ll show no fear

Boots hacked around and the ball flew everywhere

Bouncing off molehills and bodies in the afternoon sun

Did we even keep the score or was it just for fun

Dribbling past the odd stray dog

Parents and others looking on all agog

Half time came with a real orange slice

Rolled-up newspapers to protect our shins

We’d practised taking penalties between dustbins

Almost time and scores still level

Nobody here is playing for a draw

A mass of bodies moves from end to end

Somewhere in the midst of flailing boots there is a ball

Suddenly the ball emerges

Looping high towards the sky

The crowd of players follows its descent

Too late

Kelly’s Doberman is on the loose and really fast

Sinks his teeth into the leather

Punctured bladder the ball deflates

So a draw it is and honour satisfied for another year.

In back streets and on waste land such matches are still played

Where skills are honed and sometimes a player makes the grade

A legend whose name will be held in awe through the years

And many in the snug after a few English bitter beers

Will boast they played with him on that day

And scored a hat trick before the dog got in the way

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2021

Leave a comment



Walking into the shadows

As darkness is descending

Like a heavy burden upon the frame

Crushing hope and bringing fear

Tongues of those shadows stretching further

Enveloping as they proceed

Around my form

An amplifying of those unknown sounds

As the moon hides behind the clouds

Rustling of leaves

A wolf or bear or even worse

Some mythical beast arising from a curse

Spirits of the dead may be wandering free

Who knows the evil of their name

How far away?

I cannot tell

Where is the shield

That guards against the foe

Who will come

Defending in the hour of need

Nerves tingle

I sweat and shake

Then shiver as the hours pass by

Cold comes creeping down on me

Until those first rays of sun

Stretch towards me from the hills

Behind me the sound of breaking twigs

I turn quickly

To see

A figure hastens away between the trees

What was the intent?

Threat or protection

Yet though the night is now done

I leave still wondering

If through those dreaded hours

Was there always light beyond the dark?

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2021