Park Bench Tales and other writings

Thoughts and writings reflecting the poet within and the activist

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(Picasso “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” )

Did you hear that sound from among the trees

Almost drowned by the movement of leaves

Brushing harshly against each other in the breeze

The branch bends against the wind

Then jerks back to its position

Having withstood the strain

Did you see that movement among fallen leaves

Was that rustling sound the soughing that deceives

So much in a world that our senses might receive

A squirrel peeps from behind a trunk

An acorn held between paws

We stare then he runs away

Did you see how she gave him that sideways glance

Just long enough to catch his eye and entrance

Maybe this could be the beginning of a new romance

There’s a beetle moving across the floor

The cat watches carefully

Waiting to pounce

Copyright: David Hopcroft December 2022

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5. The Artist’s Room

5. The artist’s room

He is the audacious architect and constructor of his own dream

Designing instant ephemeral worlds that have no meaning on their own

Glimpses of daily life passing through the scenes he has created

Leading imagination towards the pleasures of those sights unseen

Where the reader reconstructs the vision as if it were their own

Yet in reading their story and not sharing his may equally be disappointed

There are no half-painted oil pictures on the easel no sculptures to be seen

No photographs of half-naked women trying to extend their teenage years

His camera lies beyond the retina as his canvas is formed in the mind

A seeking through exploration for another with which to share the scene

The script as yet unwritten awaits a chapter of collaboration without fears

The reader no longer confined or resigned pens a future they designed

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022

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Down South

Down South

Sitting on the porch in an Adirondack chair

Staring at blue skies

Just passing the time of day

Watching pine trees swaying in the air

Through shades to protect my eyes

As I watch the dolphins leaping in the bay

Clouds of loneliness have drifted from the sky

Burning sun scorches through my shirt

But I will stay a little longer

Let the lingering of memories still lie

Until forgotten in the parched dirt

Whilst my southern love grows ever stronger

Will friendship be lost after this last night together

Beneath the Spanish moss last memories are made

Drinking our margaritas before we retire

Listening to Jimmy sing about the weather

How I wish that departure could be forever delayed

Let not our love die in the ashes of the fire

Copyright: David Hopcroft November 2022


Lingering Thoughts

Lingering Thoughts

He looked up from the seat on his bench in the park

His bench or so it seemed as time had passed over the years

That first time as a schoolboy when he carved their mark

They had taunted him then but he rejected their jeers

There would come a time has was no longer alone

When thoughts of her would no longer be just dreams

Was it not belief that drew the sword from the stone

He surmised that faith if strong could provide the means

The warmth of the sun was upon the wrinkled face

He peered into the light and could make out her form

The white dress she wore and how she walked with grace

That day she smiled as they sat together upon the lawn

He looked at the bench and the initials he had carved

So much was unsaid yet the wood was still speaking

How could his life be full yet still he felt starved

Those marks in the wood a reminder of the seeking

He stared again at the figure and wanted her to turn

To see the smile that had drawn him to her in his youth

That freckled face the laugh that made him yearn

For that time together when they both sought for truth

Who was the toddler who now walked by her side

He wondered why was she always walking away

He wished yet knew each had something to hide

Years ago when both decided they would not stay

Would she fade into the distance leaving him in doubt

Day after day his desire had torn at his heart

What was it that stopped him from shouting out

That always left him seated as he watched her depart

Was it the sun or emotion that formed the tear

A reminiscence of something lost for which he yearned

A restraint to be broken as her form seemed to clear

He hesitated then shouted and in that moment she turned

Copyright: David Hopcroft July 2022

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Picture Unframed 16: Startled

Picture Unframed 16: Startled

Those long morning walks hand in hand

Setting out to climb to the windswept headland

Feeling the bite of freshness upon the face

A sense of belonging that we had found our place

Losing her was a blow once there had been a past

Whilst together I never dreamt it might not last

Tide-washed white sand stretching around the bay

Where we first met I remember clearly that day

Your hair held in place by a crimson scarf

The unmistakeable sound of an infectious laugh

Holiday love blossomed on the Merioneth coast

Huddled together in a caravan as warm as toast

I was a single girl some might say fancy free

I remember when you confessed you were in love with me

Two of us seeking new love in this foreign land

Imprinting of toes in that tide-washed sand

Lying beside each other in sun-drenched dunes

Talking of chance and the casting of runes

At first I was quite startled and took fright

Like a vision that can form in fading light

Your presence with me as I walked through the ling

Inside me I knew the comfort you would bring

Your voice was still there our love still held fast

Bonded by a bridge over present and past

When I write I still feel your guiding hand

Gentle touch guiding without command

Words strung together to take upon form

Sentences to remind me how our love was born

Beyond the ninth wave we’ll be together once more

Until then we’ll still walk upon this tide-washed shore

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2022

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Picture Unframed 14: The Summerhouse

Picture Unframed: The Summerhouse

He liked the evening walk before the sun dipped away

When greenery seemed to become a golden glow

Colour spreading across the once blue sky

Hoping to catch a glimpse of her at the end of day

That dark hair rising when the wind would blow

A past intruding on the present he knew not why

He thought the summerhouse had seen better times

Paint flaking from the door and window frames

He had watched her so dainty with a brush in her hand

Feeling like an intruder peering from the vines

Seeking a place on her canvas with his claims

Her work full of life his life seemed so bland

There was a small weathercock perched on the roof

Forged by the lady with hammer and tong

The fine work of her canvas seemed such a contrast

Was she aware of his presence as he tried to remain aloof

In the meadow he heard the curlew calling song

He seemed mesmerised as she undid a clasp

He had taken the same walk now for several weeks

Through the beech wood the hazel copse and lawn

Always drawn to this spot to watch and admire

In his mind he formed pictures of what she seeks

The summerhouse now damaged by the storm

Over the door still blooming hung a old rose briar

He listened as the church clock struck the hour

Looked at the tower on the hill above the lake

Looked back at the ruins but now she was gone

Just the ruin of the summerhouse and the rose in flower

And the easel and stool that she chose to forsake

A yellow glow dipped on the horizon the sun was gone

Walking back past the stables and the walled garden

He was sure he could smell her scent in the night air

He was convinced that he could hear the sound of her feet

He tried to forget and to make his mind harden

Memories of a youth shy and coy fearing to show care

What if he turned now and she was there to greet

The ink well was filled and he dipped the quill

Words like his shyness seemed to stammer from the pen

His declaration on the script was surely too late

The envelope bore the words ‘To Susan from Will’

Would she read of his love and if so when

Was this love affair over and sealed by fate

Was this real or just a moment in the poet’s imagination

He looked up as he heard the closing of a gate

Paused for a moment then continueing in his task

Carefully penning his words of adoration

The knock at the door now should he tempt fate

If he opened that door what would he unmask

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2022


Pictures Unframed 13: Growing Old

Pictures Unframed 13. Becoming Old

Early morning the fog chokes

Traffic crawls across the bridge

Cables seem to vanish in the air

Leaving the bridge

Hanging there

Industry treats him to the poison

That left him coughing through the night

Spitting out the dust


Wishing for relief

He makes his way home from work

Sees her in the distance

Walking towards him

He would recognize that red hat

The coat she wore

The one he bought last Christmas

Or was it the Christmas before?

That walk

He would know that anywhere

After all these years

His step increases

Anxious to meet

Shielding his face with the mask

Then looking up again

Where is she?

Walking on he is confused

Until he reaches the short cut

Through woodland


She is there

But now she is walking away

He calls out her name


Louder this time

He tries to run

But his lungs have long gone

He stops to catch his breath

Wheezing for a while

Then continues on

Certain he will see her again

Reaching his street

He counts the houses

Fourth one on the left

That is their home

As he comes up the drive

The door opens

His daughter there to greet him

‘Where have you been Dad?’

He looks at her

‘Is your mum back. I saw her a few minutes ago

On my way home from work.’

There are tears in her eyes


You retired five years ago

And mum is at the care home

She’s been there for a year’

Then the tears flowed

How long could she keep going like this?

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2022

(A poem that reflects reality for so many)

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Pictures Unframed 12

Pictures Unframed 12: Perspectives

They met whilst they were still at school

Two youngsters who rode the same school bus

Sharing a seat twice a day

Childhood sweethearts who chattered away

Each moment a pleasure in the innocence of play

As they grew older they learned to dance together

Partners on the floor on a Friday night

Their parents thought of a future that was bright

Sometimes they held close when feelings emerged

Stealing a kiss when they knew they had merged

A binding of dreams when each went to sleep

She dreamt of a future that went on for years

Of church bells that would ring out over the hills

Walking the aisle in a beautiful white dress

A gold ring to cherish for the rest of her life

She knew who her bridesmaids would be

Susan Diana and her new friend Dorothy

He dreamt of a girlfriend he showed off to his mate

A dream that vanished when he would wake

The doll who would ride his new motorbike

She would sit on the back of his Bonneville twin

Her long black hair blowing in the wind

There would be others of course he must play the field

One for each night nothing was signed and sealed

She remembered that last day in the lane

When she plucked up the courage

Her feelings exposed when she exclaimed

She wanted to go steady and she wanted a ring

She was his girlfriend this was more than a fling

She would be faithful for the rest of her life

She told of her dream to be his wife

He remembered sitting astride the Bonneville twin

A new leather jacket with the smell of fresh polish

Helmet in hand he was taken aback

Why settle down he said with a grin

He told her she was just a moll and he was a bloke

And that was the moment when her heart broke

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2022