Park Bench Tales and other writings

Thoughts and writings reflecting the poet within and the activist

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Anti-Vaccination Babe

Anti-Vaccination Babe

When the virus arrived she assured me it’s just like ‘flu

Lie down with paracetamol it’s all that you can do

She knew an expert who said disinfectant was a cure

You might have to dilute it or maybe drink it pure

As hospitals filled up she said they’d die anyway

It’s nothing really and will very soon go away

Then people kept on dying the numbers were obscene

Pharmaceutical companies led the rush to develop a vaccine

Then stories appeared claiming such a vaccine might do harm

She listened very carefully to those who raised the alarm

Soon you had to have a jab or you might lose employment

Maybe the constitution had an inoculation amendment

This violated your liberty and that was completely wrong

News channels fed differing stories she needed to be strong

When they threatened with a mandate she stuck to her task

Marching with so many others saying ‘That’s too much to ask’

She had a right to take her own decision no matter what it cost

Stuck to her belief no matter how many lives were lost

There are many ways in which you may think her wrong or right

Can it be easy for you to deny freedom of choice is a cause to fight

Are her views selfish in a culture that says look after number one

When experts contradict each other claiming they have won

Is it misinformation or information black or white or simply grey

As the mortuary keeps filling do the old and feeble get a say

Are you convinced that politicians should decide the way

I do believe in vaccines and I’ve had my third booster dose

But have I a right to insist the anti-vaxxers should not be verbose

I look back at all the rules that were made and see confusion

Did they know what they were doing or was it just an illusion

She was a vociferous and lively anti-vaccination babe

And now I’m standing by the graveside where she’s laid

Struck down by the virus too late for the vaccine’s aid

I’m thinking now about how her decisions were really made

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2022


What did you do for climate change Granddad?

What did you do for climate change Granddad?

Many years ago when I was but a lad

Kicking a football around in a field

Visiting the cinema for a Saturday matinee

Watching the enemy getting blown away

Generals presented as freedom’s shield

I asked ‘What did you do in the war Dad?’

Now I am older the question is almost the same

‘Granddad what did you do to prevent climate change’

Grandchildren stare right into my eyes

An occasion calling for truth not lies

A warrior with a pen Would they find that strange

Yet my actions in many ways are those of shame

Your granny and I we drove a big car

A gas-guzzling monster a great metallic beast

We flew across oceans in enormous jet planes

Went from city to city in those old steam trains

Took a cruise liner to the Far East

Three vacations a year to places near and far

We lived in a large house heated by coal and oil

Commuted to the city forty miles each way

Bought all the new gadgets as soon as we could

Threw out the old ones they were no good

Dumped plastic in a bin where it would not decay

Greened the lawn with fertiliser in the soil

Those were the days when the burger was king

Exotic fruits flown in from overseas

Takeaway meals came in a polystyrene tray

No need for washing we just threw them away

Paradise was a place we could just do as we please

A Holy Grail of peace where no birds sing

The looks that they gave me were those of disgust

I sensed that feeling where lack of comfort betrays

Our selfishness had so nearly destroyed their lives

Creating a barren world where so little survives

We had left it to our grandchildren to find better ways

Taking more than our fair share and leaving nothing in trust

Copyright: David Hopcroft January 2022

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Woodland Music

Woodland Music

Seeking shelter from the Autumn breeze

A sanctuary I reach between the trees

At first only the sound of the rustling leaves

Looking to the sky where treetops sway

Rays of sun filter through upon my foray

As frisky squirrels now emerge for play

Squeaks and croaks might signal their delight

Upon such matters my discussion is not erudite

And could this be playfulness in their fight

They bark as the hawk flies overhead

A signal to warn of the predator they dread

Watching is needed even as they are fed

A weakened trunk yields with a moan

Comes crashing to the ground and lies alone

Narrowly avoiding the sculpture of stone

Now the siskin sounds a cheerful note

Of joy that emanates from throat

Whilst eyes dart around wary of the hungry stoat

Whose hiss suggest that of my presence she is aware

In the distance I can hear the hunter’s horn blare

Above I seek the cooing pigeon with my stare

Badgers and owl in silence spend their day

Along the bridle path I hear the stallion neigh

So much music is hereabouts but I must away

Copyright: David Hopcroft October 2020

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Windy Day: An unwritten sermon

Windy Day: An unwritten sermon

The slender willow bends to take the strain

An apparent fragility that hides a greater strength

As in bending with the wind it seems to yield

Yet still remains so firmly rooted in the ground

As I watch its beauty swaying to and fro

Thirty feet or more that has withstood the storms

Carrying a message for you and I

Beyond the embankment stands the oak

A sturdy trunk that has stood ninety years or more

Refusing to yield to the storms and gales

A symbol of defiance that will not move

Yet the branches heavy in leaf take the force

In not yielding to this force some may be broken

Like the willow the oak may have spoken

With some shedding of the leaves with each gust

Occasionally a branch torn falls to the ground

Whilst the trunk remains to see out further years

I can feel the air against my face cutting me

As I struggle to make headway in this wind

Remembering the pine forest that once stood

Until the wind cut through like a scythe

Leaving a swathe as each pulled a neighbour down

The shallow roots offering little against the wind

Could it be that the willow is the wisest of them all

Growing tall and yet so firmly rooted in the ground

Or the oak that sheds a branch to retain the inner strength

What if the roots of pines become intertwined

Supporting each other to give a greater deeper strength

Whichever tree we might choose for our lives

Faith must have firm roots to take the strain

Copyright: David Hopcroft August 2020

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The Star and Planets that were alive

The Star and Planets that were Alive

The dwellers on planet blue felt superior to all

Only possible microbes had been found upon the other bodies

Although they still speculated about an old ice moon

That might have life in warm water beneath

The dwellers believed they were the only intelligent form

To be found within a solar system that had been born

From clouds of swirling dust that became organized

Not realizing that it was the cloud itself that was alive

As the cloud grew from infancy to adult

And redesigned itself to form a great central sun

Around which parts of its body had come

To represent places where the system might have fun

Some parts were left hard rocky and hot

But the blue planet was a place where the dust left a magic seed

That had been blowing through the galaxy for years

A seed that germinated and then evolved

Then the star and planets realized it was a deadly mould

As it slowly became a form that destroyed the planet blue

Then it seemed the mould in all its forms would slowly die

Whilst the star and planets lived on in peace

A microsecond of life in solar system history

The seed it seems had no final destiny

Copyright: David Hopcroft August 2020

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Life on the lawn

Life on the lawn

There is a brown moth with spots on the lawn today

A visitor that I have not seen before

Flitting from one clump of grass to another

We have something in common with each other

We are both God’s creatures and we share the lawn

The moth seeks nourishment and I seek recreation

The moth searches whilst I sit in contemplation

Until a hover fly comes to my attention

Seeking for pollen from the yellow buttercup

A bumblebee explores the red jasmine by the shed

Then flies off to try the grapevine instead

Beneath the tuft of grass I see the busy ant

Struggling with a seed to take back to the nest

There is a pleasure in observing this harmony

Of so many creatures that share this lawn with me

There’s a lesson for humankind if we could see

There is a place for all of us upon this earth

And every creature and plant has its worth

Including the small spider that is crawling over me

So as I sit and watch I also learn

Each creature that I see has a purpose for my lawn

A pleasure I appreciate as I rest within my chair

Letting time pass quietly as I sit and stare

Oh look There a red beetle on the lily over there

Copyright: David Hopcroft June 2020

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The Wandering Planet

The Wandering Planet

The planet Adirolf was neither here or there

There was no solar system or a star to care

Instead the planet wandered around everywhere

A lost body among the galaxies and so rarely seen

For with no star to orbit there was so little to detect

Adirolf grew colder as each light year passed by

The mystery remained about how Adirolf was born

There were so many explanations about what might have been

Once the planet was discovered scientists started to reflect

How did such a giant planet form and why

Though the planet simply wandered on and felt forlorn

Hoping to be attracted by a star as it passed by

An orbital affair that could form and last through the years

To be engulfed by love as the star began to die

Some thought Adirolf formed far from a sun

Where gravity was weak and so the planet was set free

Then scientists discivered planets had changed orbits in the past

But such mysteries had little relevance to Adirolf’s situation

Whose seeking for a star was beyond control

Then travellers from Amgine stumbled on the planet

And with photon propulsion Adirolf’s course was changed

To orbit a lonely star where planets had not been found

And from interstellar space love between the two was bound

This story of space romance was discovered in the solar underground

Where ripples can be felt but you will never hear a sound

Copyright: David Hopcroft June 2020

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The Star that Never Formed

The Star that Never Formed

Clouds of swirling gases intermingled with the dust

Spinning endlessly to form a shallow disc

A lonely protostar awaits a future

Yet the disc just seems to be spinning on and on

Looking out in all directions to a glittering galaxy

Where at least a trillion other stars are so brightly shining

The lonely protostar can only wish and hope

That time will let its centre grow dense and hot

Watching as other stars were so beautifully formed

Some of them forming a host of planets that circled round

Rocky ones so close that they endured a searing heat

Cold icy ones that might form a distant icy ring

So much variation that could be a destiny

The protostar began to feel so lonely and was feeling really sad

Watching as twin stars nearby were formed

Orbiting each other as if in some tango dance

Yet never becoming close enough to meet

The protostar remembered seeing a great supernova

That burst and threw its light across the galaxy

It may have been a short life but what a way to go

Whilst all around the galaxy was flooding with light

The protostar seemed doomed to endure perpetual night

All that the protostar could do was to spin and pray

That light and planets might lie ahead to make a sunny day

Copyright: David Hopcroft June 2020

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Let’s Light the Candle

Let’s light the candle

A schoolboy in a classroom all those years ago

Listening to the launch on a transistor radio

Hidden inside the pocket of his blazer

Relaying progress each minute to those around

Excitement as teenagers listen eagerly upon the ground

Knowing the moment to be the first leap for great exploration

A human from the USA prepares to enter space

Billed as the first step in a greater race

The words we hear from the astronaut remembered

‘Let’s light this candle’ and then all was go

This evening Shephard’s words are heard once more

As I listen still with excitement from a further shore

A new era has begun as Americans celebrate

The launch that puts a nation back on the map

New dreams and thoughts turn to more distant bodies

Should it be the moon again or are we on the way to Mars

Will we see the big rockets and will probes be sent to the stars

A small step has been taken but it is a step with pride

‘Let’s light this candle’ and the Falcon began its burn

Lifting from the pad heading toward the evening skies

The moment watched by so many around the world

Hopes are being raised the future has begun

Americans know there is a job to be done

A Martian landscape is now within their sight

Hold on to your saddle and sit tight

Fasten that seatbelt and dream into the night

Copyright: David Hopcroft May 2020

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Deep down below the ocean surviving by the vents

Where gas and lava spew out from the planet’s bowels

Bacteria may survive regardless of the acid and heat

Where corrosive geysers bubble up still life may be found

And there is life among the rocks deep underground

So whilst the novices may talk excitedly about a Goldilocks zone

Such thinking is limited by being too close to home

For life like that on earth such a theory might be true

An atmosphere with some gases and an ocean blue

A climate that is neither too cold or too hot

Now just as innovation requires imagination

So thoughts on what life may be needs inspiration

Robotic probes sent out into deep space

Far more sturdy and long-lasting than the human race

Sensing a wider spectrum and other molecular forms

Would these also precede some alien exploration

Would we discover new life in so many different forms

Molecular structures evolving without explanation

Thriving on energy sources not used by me and you

Where temperatures are searing and there are no seas of blue

Life as we know it seems to depend so much upon a carbon chain

But if we close our minds then we never gain

Whilst so many other forms of life play out a higher game

Under skies of methane and acidic rain

When they arrive then our lives may never be the same

Copyright: David Hopcroft June 2020