Park Bench Tales and other writings

Thoughts and writings reflecting the poet within and the activist

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Irina go out and collect fresh eggs Ivan fetch the longest straw

An excitement building within the home for celebration

Tatyana churn the milk for fresh butter I need more

Customs revived and observed for a new generation

Vitaliia have you clothes to dress the doll in finery

Bright colours to stand out when we raise the pole

Children bubbling over with anticipation and anxiety

Parents struggling to keep them under control

The straw is ready and the lady has been dressed

She stands aloft upon the pole in the village square

A week of carnival and festival has been blessed

Sounds of spring have awoken the sleeping bear

Eggs have been beaten and the butter is in the pan

Add the batter and be sure to make the special toss

Sweet crepes for Mayssa savoury dumplings for a man

Gather around and await the music by the Market Cross

Seek out those dancing shoes for nimble steps in dance

Lads and lassies this is the time to seek out mates

Last night’s dream can come alive so take a chance

Feliks open your eyes and see that Vitaliia awaits

Time to skate the ice and take the Troika ride

Children shrieking in delight at the snowball fight

See how the skaters on the ice smoothly glide

Fireworks exploding in the sky light up the night

The week is almost over and the torch lights the fire

Our lady brought down from high now must burn

Dance with me around the flames as she loses her attire

Sprinkle the ashes on the fields and let life return

Seek your neighbour and friends for their forgiveness ask

The time for grievances to be forgotten has come

Drink to their health and share the spirit in your flask

The week must end in happiness let nought be left undone

Copyright: David Hopcroft February 2023

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Basement Club (English & Ukraine)

Our apartments shared a balcony on the fifteenth floor

We were rather shy and hardly ever had conversation

Though once we talked about the broken lift door

I wondered whether we were just poor at communication

I remembered a day she wore trainers and denim jeans

A sense of fashion that seemed a little bland

I believed she was an artiste learning new routines

Maybe she was a singer for a band

Then she offered me an invitation out of the blue

Would I like to see her performance tonight

As the day passed by so my curiosity grew

She led me to a basement door lit up by a neon light

She sat me at a table with a good view of the stage

Then left me with my drink enjoying the revue

A punk jazz band was playing they had become the rage

With numbers like Blitzkreig Bop and Who Are You

A fanfare then the curtains parted and I was shocked

As she made her dancing entrance in a red latex dress

High red boots and fishnet stockings she really rocked

Body glitter upon her arms she certainly could impress

Her dancing was sensuous suggestive and enticing

Erotic movements so graceful they could not be obscene

A final beckoning towards me that was her inviting

This was my quiet neighbour living out her dream

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2023

28. Підвальний клуб

Наші квартири розділили балкон на п’ятнадцятому поверсі

Ми були досить сором’язливими і навряд чи колись мали розмову

Хоча одного разу ми поговорили про розбиті двері підйому

Мені було цікаво, чи ми просто бідні на спілкуванні

Я згадав день, коли вона носила тренери та джинси з джинсовими виробами

Почуття моди, яке здавалося трохи м’яким

Я вважав, що вона артистка вивчає нові процедури

Тоді вона запропонувала мені запрошення з синього кольору

Чи хотів би я побачити її виступ сьогодні ввечері

Як минув день, так зросла моя цікавість

Вона повела мене до дверей підвалу, освітлених неоновим світлом

Вона сиділа за столом з гарним видом на сцену

Тоді залишив мене своїм напоєм, щоб насолодитися ревю

Панк-джазовий колектив грав, вони стали люттю

З такими номерами, як Blitzkreig Bop і хто ти

Фанфари тоді штори розлучилися, і я був шокований

Коли вона зробила свій танцювальний вхід у червону сукню з латексу

Високі червоні черевики та панчохи з риб’ячим сітком вона справді гойдалася

Блиск тіла на руках, який вона, безумовно, може вразити

Її танці були чуттєвими сугестивними та привабливими

Еротичні рухи настільки витончені, що не могли бути нецензурними

Фінал, що покликав мене, це було її запрошення

Це був мій тихий сусід, що жив її мрією

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2023

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A brief life (adult)

A brief life

She believed she would find herself with the great escape

Far away from home she believed she would make the break

Those stories of danger she was convinced were all fake

She had convinced herself this time there would be no mistake

Lured by his secret messages she would live the dream

Enticed at night by her friends into the clubbing scene

She would be a centre of attention a real drama queen

He was about to rescue her and they would be a team

Within the dream there was a desire to play the whore

He could see his opportunity with just two Proseccos more

She swayed drunkenly around upon the polished dance floor

Then upon his arm she staggered towards the door

All had begun when she was assured her entrance was free

Then her new friend had told her ‘The drinks are all on me’

Little did she realize he had in mind a different fee

Her destiny was to satisfy the lust of his depravity

She had perfected that just-turned-teenage look with her smile

Not realising the cultured image might attract the paedophile

She brought alive all his wicked fantasies with a juvenile

In her drunken stupor she gave her body for him to defile

At first it was only him then and who was really to blame

When she satisfied his friends one by one without any shame

Submitting to each new request she was the football in their game

Tomorrow night he’d collect her and they could do it all again

She’d perform for anyone who would offer a lift

Unknown to each of them they had gained an unwanted gift

It was their visits to the clinic that led to the rift

Her body dumped in an alleyway having completed her last shift

Copyright: David Hopcroft December 2022

This poem is about abuse. In the UK there is support from a number of organisations.

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On the edge: Betrayal

On the edge: Betrayal

They drank their Prosecco laughing and giggling

Unaware of a world they had left a thousand miles away

Their time now devoted to the manufactured look

That they adored on the covers of glossy magazines

Wishing their bodies too could attract the male on Tik Tok

As they checked their pouted lips in the mirror

Taking the selfies that were a reflection of their self-importance

In a world created by the unsuspecting donor

As they forgot about all those who were left behind

Crop tops and short skirts for a fashion world

That seemed two planets away from the now forgotten home

Their cares drowned in wine and laughter

They no longer recalled those who they had left alone

As they sheltered in their own cubicles of deceit

Turmoil and death never surfaced in their sleep

They strutted the catwalks in their minds

Toying with the minds of fools as mouths were left agape

The men at home soon faded far away

As they plundered new riches hanging low on trees

Rosie the riveter was but a part of history

Here was cash to spend and nights were young

The were no Florence Nightingales sitting in this bar

What had surfaced was no mystery

The world had changed

Others laid down lives for their liberty

How can they possibly know

What it really means to be free

Copyright: David Hopcroft October 2022


Beltane Queen

Beltane Queen

The April sun rises above the earth
Rays of light illuminate the woodland scene
Time to prepare for summer’s mirth
Discover what our customs mean
Let us commence in great haste
There is no time to waste
Beltane’s eve upon us soon will fall.

‘Tis the signal of the eve to mark rebirth
The ice-faced form of Cailleach Bheur
Whose pastelled face was winter’s dearth
Shall change her form; shout Hurrah !
See how she sinks below the western seas
To spend the night dressed in stone
Awakened with a younger tone
Her darkened hours shall change her face
With summer beauty to be reborn
And rise again with warmer grace.
A daughter of Grianon to guard the creatures of the land.

Upon this eve shall faeries from the Other World
Step forth from the hidden door down Puck’s Vale
Beware as silken wings are now unfurled
Care can lead you to fortune’s trail.
Look to thy newborn child with care upon this night
Lest dawn should break with the changeling then in sight
Of elder leaves some garland make
To keep mischief from your cottage gate
But leave blackthorn blossom to nature’s fate
Its guardians dwell beyond the secret gate
Anger not the mischievous Lunantishee
For whom it is a sacred tree.
On such a night as this did Orffeo take his rest
Sleep and so lost his queen from faeries jest.
Sleep peacefully within your dreams
Slumber under moonlit beams
Your journey through the secret gate
Shall reveal what you await.
There comes a vision that is true;
See how the feast before your eyes
Is laid with every kind of fruit
That you might find below the skies
Eat well from this table
Be merry whilst you are able
Enjoy the meaning of the fable.
Listen to the faeries song, its sound
Might tell your future underground.
Return before the May Day does break
From this Other World nothing take
Else ill fortune will overtake.

Prepare your fires for the summer coming
Pile high the branches for the gods
Work hard and listen to bees a’humming
See dry wood from rotted winter logs
For it must burn throughout three nights
Then shall the coldness of the winter die
Let us perform the ancient Celtic rites
As summer sun gives her warmth from on high.
Drive your cattle through the flame
The summer goddess shall reclaim
Search among your men for one who is strong
Whose heart is pure and whose leap is long
For he shall be your Beltane Carle
Thrice through the orange flames to leap
Fortune for your village he will seek
Thus is the sun god so appeased
In honour so the god is pleased
Then torch the furze upon the hill
Pastures then shall grow again
Sheep and cattle to have their fill.

Collect now your sprigs upon this first summer eve
Take care that in the darkness you’re not seen
As Beltane message you will with a secret leave.
Hang that sprig upon your neighbour’s door
For this birching will leave a lasting sign
Perhaps of scorn or of amour
The tree your feelings shows in rhyme
Pear for the lady fair
Briar for the liar
Pine for one who’s fine
Thorn for those you scorn
Sycamore is wise in lore
Holly is the folly.
Let the leaves a greeting make upon the dawn
But save the wicken for the one you love
You will then awake to love reborn.

Give thanks to water from her wells and springs
Thanks to the pillowing clouds and rivers that do flow
Thank to the rain and for the growth it brings
Thanks for the melt from winter’s snow.
Flowers in the clay shall decorate her heart
Hawthorn blossom, sacred flower of goddess, now does show.
Leaves of every kind shall play their part
Mark well the lore which you would know
Wash in those sparkling crystal waters clear
The goddess of the spring from ailment will release
Drink of her gift and banish fear
The secret of her water is your peace.
Seek out the Pin Well if her favours you desire
In love she will fill your loins with passion’d fire
Gather dew upon the Beltane dawn
Rise before the huntsman’s horn
From scented lavender to make the wish
The lover on your lips will place the kiss
From hawthorn dew now wash your face
Which shall then shine in fairest grace.

With careful ear should you hear the shriek in evening skies
The answer from the legend tells which dies
White and red dragon shall test their might
Until the white shall take its flight.
Let not the struggle keep you from your sleep
The early morning vigil you must keep
When you have the water blessed
Then with flowers should you be dressed
Make your garlands large and bright
Wild flowers expressing your delight
Summer rises with the light.
With violet and daisy make your chain
With buttercup and celandine
And wild pansy from the common land;
One word, the cuckoo flower is banned
For that is for the faerie hand.
Make your May Doll with great care
Hide it in your garland fair
Symbol of the love you’ve made
Wear with pride in the parade
Dance sweetly through the woodland glade
Where with your love you idly played.

Witches now from every coven
Should lay the fire within the oven
Make the bannock cakes for the game
Roll them down the hillsides where you’ve lain
Three times their symbol mark it plain
The fate that might be with your name.

Join all to celebrate the dance
Seek out the one you would romance
In magic, love can be entranced.
Morris dancers shall be seen
Cavorting with Jack in the Green.
To mark the symbols of the sacrifice we make
In animal guise a new appearance we shall take
Dress now with equine head and leather hide
For there’s a hobby horse to ride.
Lift the May Pole to the skies
Sink its shaft in Mother Earth
Fertility’s symbol now will rise
Mark to bring the summer birth.
Secrets of the May Pole’s knowing
Winter’s gift will soon be showing
Deep within a womb is growing
Conceived beneath the tall pole’s shadow
Shot to the mark was Cupid’s arrow.
Ribbons of all colours matched
To the pole will be attached
Round and round to weave a pattern
Like the rings of heavenly Saturn
Lead your lover to a throne
Be the May Queen of your home.

© David Hopcroft April 1998


A Village Awaits

The village awaits

Cobbled streets once traversed by donkey carts

Sleepy houses where hours are spent drinking tea

Preparing for revival a great display of arts

Traditions awakened by way of celebration

Beauty so long suppressed is now set free

Pine poles form the scaffolding

Adorned with gifts for the special day

Boyka has spent long hours with her spinning

Fibres dyed and woven now on display

A shawl from Stoyanka with colour is shining

Showing her skills with crochet

Blankets from Devora

Pillow cases embroidered by Todorka

All that the couple would surely need

Gifts to remember the day in December

To mark the new life they would lead

Grozdan has been busy with plane and saw

Fine oak has been used for the marriage bed

Seasoned by skills from an old lore

Painted in bright colours yellow blue and red

A crib for a baby Ivan’s parents have hope

Can swing gently from the homespun rope

A time for feasting and dancing with the winter sun

Music supplied by the zurnas and drum

The dark days of the past are now over and done

Two days of celebration when the village has fun

Her excitement near bursting and heart beating fast

Bubbling with joy Rositsa waits in her room

Varvara her grandmother will help her prepare

A face to be decorated and painted with greatest of care

The time for the gelina as the bride is prepared

Her face painted white then with sequins adorned

A red scarf for her hair as the picture is formed

Silk flower garland like a doll she is cared

Streaks of tinsel now complete her disguise

The imam must bless before she opens her eyes

Crimson skirt white bodice she displays graces and airs

A rainbow of stitching on the apron she wears

Guests gasp in awe and wonder with their stares

With sashes of notes from wedding guests

Preparation complete now she is dressed

The blessing of imam can take place

A simple binding carried out with grace

With fresh milk her husband will wash her face

The old darkness has gone a sky bursts with lights

A village with happiness and joy revives Pomak rites

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2022

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On the edge: Can I dance too?

On the edge: Can I dance too?

She lost her father to the bullets of a drug lord

In fear of life with their mother they fled

Begging along the way the best they could afford

Dreamers of a better future by hope were led

Stop them catch them put them in a pen

Thieves robbers rapists all of them

We don’t want them here the cry was rage

As they pulled them from their mother

And crammed them in a cage

The metal bars became the walls of her home

A concrete floor became her bed

Her brother taken away so both were all alone

Left to be forgotten like the dead

Build me a wall he cried out loud

To keep out those in need I am so proud

Build it fast and build it high

Of course there will be those that die

The girl upon the concrete floor feels the pain

Cold comfort hoping for some news each week

The months go by yet her prayers seem in vain

Tears now form the puddle from her weep

Send them home they don’t belong

I’ve built a wall and it’s strong

The longest wall in history

And the credit is all down to me

The guards’ gaze diverted by the glare on a screen

Celebrations are shown with dancing along the street

The little girl peers between bars to see the scene

Hope springs alive with movements of her feet

Placards that once portrayed the rage

Replaced with a cry Open the cage

A call to heal and unite

Dull darkness replaced by blinding light

I can dance too the child cries with glee

Behind the bars she gives a twirl

The steps and leaps that cry Please set me free

Let me dance she shouts with a swirl and twirl

Cages are opened in the name of liberty

Dancing with joy signals a new age

Caring has become the new prosperity

To silence the screams that represented rage

The dance of courage and belief showing her revival

Tear down those walls of hate and build compassion

A nation that needed to open its heart for survival

Opens its arms for the child to step out the dance of passion

I can dance she cried to her mother

A new world is beckoning for new lives to begin

Come dance with me she beckons to her brother

We are all dreamers now she says with a cheeky grin

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2020

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Hold that beat

Hold that beat

Play those notes strike a chord and move those feet

There’s a place reserved for you upon the floor

Step out with a partner awaken from the dreamy sleep

Hold them tight and firm don’t clutch the straw

Move together now as if there were but one

Press together with the music thigh to thigh

The moon is rising now where the sun has shone

Lean back and show your skills gaze to the sky

Let the drum play out the beating of your heart

Feel the hand pressing on your back

Bodies sliding across the floor just making art

A merging of two continents white and black

Feel that heat when pressing breast to chest

The softness of a movement cheek to cheek

As the dance unfolds let the meaning be undressed

Keep that movement flowing slick and sleek

Let the rhythm change build up the rising heat

Push me pull me turn me as you wish with delight

Bend me backwards let my head fall to your feet

Feel the promise that has been waiting for the night

Let lovers make their movements as passion rises

Play those notes strike the chord and move the feet

Lead on in the dance the night has more surprises

Passion is in the dance Conductor hold that beat

Copyright: David Hopcroft August 2020


Honey Moon

Honey Moon

There’s a buzzing of the bees around the hives

A taking of nectar and pollen from the flowers of the chives

The beautiful sound around the flowers of the grape

Pollen spreading over yellow fields of rape

Worker bees busy collecting all they are able

Carrying to the hives the prize that they have sought

Dances being used to communicate

A sharing of messages if you are patient and wait

Men and women robed in gowns gloves and long hats with mesh

Seeking out their prize with the utmost carefulness

Puffing smoke guns then they withdraw the honeyed combs

The bees will continue on the winter store to provide

Monks take their ration to ferment

To make the finest mead is their intent

Days are long and warm in this month of June

As we celebrate the rising of the Honey Moon

Young couples are being bound by the priest

Whilst others have prepared sweetness for the feast

Of such delicacies as suits such an occasion

The celebration of another new liaison

Let’s also celebrate the bee in this month of June

A relationship going back over the centuries

Whose work has given us the honeymoon

Copyright : David Hopcroft June 2020


Hitting all the High Notes

Hitting all the high notes

When you feel life is lonely and getting you down

When you’ve lost that smile and always wear a frown

When your head hangs low and you’ve lost your crown

When sorrows are so many that you think that you will drown

Then its time to head on out and hit the town

‘Cos its time to let your hair down and shake a leg

Hit the High Street running with a giggle

Dancing along the side walk with a lovely wiggle

Kicking those legs high laughing with delight

You are the sunshine of the day and the star at night

Listen for the music when you can sing your song

If you really want me then I’ll string along

I ain’t leaving you ‘cos you know that is wrong

Takes two to do a tango so remember you are strong

When we’re hitting all the high notes we got it right

Give me half a chance and I’ll be dancing on the table

You’re quite welcome to join me if you’re able

We’re writing our own story forget about the fable

Hitting all the high notes that’s where we belong

Leaping over hurdles and dashing through the hoops

Hitting all the high notes and now it’s chorus time

Giving everything we got to make the line

If you want to dance with me then give me a sign

Copyright: David Hopcroft May 2020