Category Archives: Poems about Abingdon

Abingdon Bun Throwing – Noon – Sunday 23rd November 1997 (Queen’s 50th Wedding Anniversary)

Abingdon Bun Throwing
The crowd has filled up every space
and overflows the Market Place:
mums and dads, daughters, sons
chant ‘We want buns! We want buns!’
Abingdon Bun Throwing
Above them on the County Hall –
in answer to the people’s call,
the Lady Mayor and civic graces
look down upon a sea of faces.

At noon the church bells start to ring;
the Mayor takes aim and with a fling
releases her first currant bun.
The throwing frenzy has begun.

The Queen’s been married fifty years,
and from below, arise the cheers.
It’s raining buns and buns and buns;
and buns are shredded into crumbs

as rival hands reach to catch,
and other hands try to snatch.
A wild bun hits me on the head
and flies to someone else instead.

Abingdon Bun Throwing
At the front, they have a bag full.
At the rear, they just stay hopeful
until the empty trays are shown.
‘No more buns!’ Then they groan.

Some buns were missed and then got trodden
underfoot and left like fodder
’til crowds of birds joined the feast,
flying down from west and east.

A placard tried to raise the tone:
‘Man shall not live by bread alone’.
Some make friends with those they fought
and share out all the buns they caught.

NOTE: Bun Throwing is an Abingdon Tradition that began with the 1761 Coronation of King George III. It celebrates important royal and other civic events. Buns are thrown by local dignitaries from the roof of the County Hall to the populace who come in great crowds. Pictures are from 2011. I have no pictures from 1997. Entry for Poems about Abingdon. Sent in to the Tithe Farm and Ladygrove Newsletter in 1997, and revised here.

P.S Also to mention that the Abingdon Country Market have their first Market of the year at the Salvation Army in West St Helen Street this Saturday 13th Feb 2021.

Abingdon, Oh Abingdon

Thankyou to Margaret for this poem about Abingdon. In October I will produce a book called ‘Ten poems about Abingdon’ which will include ten poems selected and edited by a local published poet.
Lidl
Abingdon, Oh Abingdon, what a lovely place to live,
You’ve seen so much and have so much to give.
You started as a crossing across the river Thames,
then the monks came along and chose the spot
to build their abbey, which gave the folk a lot
of work and commerce, stability and peace,
till Henry declared that all abbeys should cease.
Chaos ensued, but in their place
Churches were built, the Market came, life went on apace.
Streets and alleyways were erected up and down
till Abingdon was declared the County town.

The iconic County Hall was erected too
and things all around were bursting with life.
Factories were built with jobs for all comers
in winter, spring and through all summers.
Wars were fought, camps were built
with local men called to fight to the hilt,
then after the war Morris cars were built.

The river flowed on, pleasure boats were seen
and Abingdon people were always keen
to catch the Thrown Buns, a novel way we note
to celebrate events. And now when another
peril threatens our lives we all work together.
We help each other with shopping and chores
as most of us cannot go outdoors.
So live on, Abingdon, your history shows
that you survived all these years
and will continue to do so, despite all our fears.

Margaret Langsford

Abingdon (acrostic poem for our town)

Poems about Abingdon
Alone I wander by the Thames
beside the Anchor inn and
in the space between deep
night and effervescent break of day
ghostly and grey
dawn the shadows of Brick Alley
over the broad flags
next to St Helen’s church.

Across the river
birdsong greets the dawn,
indifferent to my solitude,
needing only small
glimmerings of light
dappling pearlescent water to
orchestrate yet one more time
new life in Abingdon.

Paul Sheppy
2021

Thanks to Paul for an entry. A book of poems with pictures will be produced in the autumn – to be called Ten Poems About Abingdon.

10 poems about Abingdon

I have a proposal for the 2021 blog project. I will post, on this blog, poems in the category ‘Poems About Abingdon‘. They could be written by you or they could be poems we can get the rights to publish. You have until end of September. Some will go into a book of poems and pictures called ‘Ten Poems About Abingdon‘. All rights will remain with the author. Send poems to backstreet60@gmail.com .

Here to start us off is a verse I have been trying to write …

Poems about Abingdon
Walking the 1556 Abingdon Bounds – draft

Eighty people and a couple of dogs
meet together on New Years’ Day.
The Town Crier swings his bell and rings,
and cries with joy ‘Hear ye!’ ‘Hear ye!’

The leader welcomes ‘one and all’
to walk the ancient Borough Bounds
where Mayor and Council once paraded
to better know their charter lands.

Refashioned as a two hour walk
to help us trim our growing waists
filled with turkey, bowls of nuts,
selection boxes, After Eights.

Not long until we are back at work –
down East St Helen Street we walk.
Some of us saunter in the road
and regroup at St Helen’s Wharf.

The leader reads the Tudor route
and then a modern commentary
“… from the aforesaid Helen’s Bridge …
to the new made promontory …’

After herding idlers to the Park
The Town Crier rings and hails The Queen!
Albert’s statue stands aloft –
taken young – what might have been?

We come across a boundary stone
warn smooth and without date or number.
A Happy New Year! cry resounds
And wakes the revelers from their slumber

The town has broken all its bounds
with modern houses, gardens, walls.
The boundary stones are overgrown,
The River Thames floods and sprawls.

By the weir we cross the River
and note a boundary stone marked ‘A’ –
used as a latch near the lock.
What a shame! The people say.
Poems about Abingdon