Ancient Crime




Norfolk has sunk away, frostrow and leigh, byram gleam through the trees, a current moving across the ridge
And under my feet, through my cuffs and my sleeves, it flickers in the evening breeze and in the clouds blowing in from the east

There's a storm in the hall
White and green
A blazing whirl
My head and my knees
I swing and I roll
Like a wave of the sea

Away on the tors, tent-lace and the ropes, the goyals steep as my spine in the cold
From the Whitburn cliff when I fall to the carpet slowly with the rime and ice and needles from the pine trees

The coast might as soon,
coral and silt bright,
have been some far off moon.
Through the snow cold and wild
birch trees in the mist
rise in the night.

They might as soon, from here to the moon, like an icy tide I'm moved in the room
And the light from a train sweeps in and is lost like a lantern to the western shores.


Salt trucks in the night
I sleep until it gets dark again outside
with the windows open
voices carry across the lawn

Away into the night
Nethertown bright
I speak on the phone
downstairs by the common room

The snow billows and whirls from the boughs of the old
wych elm through my window and settles on the floor
I stare till the night falls dark as the marshes
by lockbank farm

The ice and frost drift in the room
my dreams scurry round the walls
I float over northumberland
tors and coasts alit

Baby if you'd try
to change around your mind
and slide on a casket down a hill of ice

In the fading light
the boughs gleam bare and white
I stare till the night falls dark as the marshes
by lockbank farm

Pierpont: for the beauty

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies

Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale and tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of light

Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise

For the joy of human love
Brother, sister, parent, child
Friends on earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild

Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise


On and on old tiber speeds
dark with the weight of ancient crime
far north through green and quiet meads
flows on the wye in mist and silv'ring rime

Our England sleeps in shroud of snow
bells, sadly sweet, knell life's swift flight
and tears, unbid, are wont to flow
as "Noel! Noel!" sounds across the night.

Holmes’ Bonfire, 1666

Berthed in the night, between the
mudflats in the north for the passing of a storm.
Asleep in the hull far beneath,
safer than the belly of a beast.

When the winds had changed so they
couldn’t move, they had just drifted
south, only floating wrecks full of dead.

There was none to worry now with
the shallows and tide and shifting of the shoals.
We were quiet like a sleepy town,
holding our breath, hoping that the storm would pass.

We were so afraid, we hadn’t dared
take back the seamarks they had just
followed them, like a lighthouse in the dark.
Our armed merchantmen fled
the brave ones tried to man the ships
but they were so fast. I could see
the flames and panic spread, more
than a hundred ships, all the men burned.


I drift in the forest
I swirl like the snow in the night air
by the weight of the earth, I’m tangled and hurled
I drift like a branch does in the wind

Like the silver birch that since before my birth
has silently in the yard stood

The party lights up the frontlawn, the grass
the trees swirl and are hurled in the night air
by a weight in the darkness
I drift like the earth does, in the yard

It was not guilt or pain or regret that I could not contain
I never even found it strange

For something secretly may dwell in the darkness unknown
and so shrewdly move and even make its home
Or it may feign its embrace and feel kind and warm
when it has silently gone or was never there at all 

Blyth Farjeon Choir

Come thou redeemer of the earth
And manifest thy virgin birth
Let every age adoring fall
Such birth befits the God of all

Forth from his chamber goeth he,
That royal home of purity
A giant in twofold substance one
Rejoicing now his course to run

Thy cradle here shall glitter bright
And darkness breathe a newer light
Where endless faith shall shine serene,
And twilight never intervene

All laud eternal Son to thee
Whose advent sets thy people free
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore