Category Archives: Poems about Abingdon

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

Eighty people and two mutts
meet as planned on New Years’ Day.
The Town Crier swings his bell and cries,
‘God Bless the Queen! Hear ye!’ ‘Hear ye!

The leader welcomes ‘one and all’
to walk the ancient Borough Bounds
where Mayor and Council once paraded
to know by heart their chartered 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’re back at work –
down East St Helen Street we walk.
Some saunter, chatting, in the road
and regroup at St Helen’s Wharf.

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

Herding idlers to the Park
The Town Crier rings and hails ‘The Queen!’
Albert’s statue stands aloft –
taken young – what he has seen!

We come across a boundary stone
warn smooth and without date or number.
A New Year cry again resounds
And wakes the sleepers 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 – for a gate,
‘What a shame!’ the people say.
Poems about Abingdon

I love the Thames at Abingdon

The Thames at Abingdon
On 6th March 2008, The Abingdon Herald reported that the Abingdon Share a Poem group had produced a book for the Abingdon Arts Festival. The poetry group were 10 year old and still going strong. In September 2020 they are still going – if a little older.
The Thames at Abingdon
At the September 2020 meeting of the group, on Zoom yesterday, Justin Gosling read one of his poems …

The Thames at Abingdon

I love the Thames at Abingdon –
The wintry roar below the weir;
The angry mud race swirling past
St Helen’s round to Culham Reach;
And then the surge to burst its banks
And seize the Isle of Andersey
And all the fields to Culham Bridge –
Triumphant arching salmon leap
From river to resplendent lake.

I love the lazy summer Thames,
Placid now between its banks,
With empty cartons, coots and cans
And boats and bottles bobbing by,
And regal swans
In stately eddies drifting down
Between the meadows and the town.

I love the cool autumnal Thames,
Still beneath the thin white mist;
And far, yet near, the cooling towers,
Each with its plume of shining cloud;
The guardsman poplars, tall and bare,
Turned copper by the sinking sun.
Stormy, empty, busy, calm  –
I love the Thames at Abingdon.

© Justin Gosling

The Abingdon Fire Service and N.F.S. No 15

Markers
I am always interested to discover old Abingdon poems and verses and recently found a verse in a book on The Abingdon Fire Service (1871 – 1945) by John Hooke.

During WWII the Abingdon Fire Service helped in the national effort and went to places to put out the fires after the Blitz bombing. They arrived in Coventry after a 60 mile journey. It was complete chaos. ‘See those Almshouses, Leslie, the incendiaries have only just started their work of destruction. We could put them out with a drop of water – but there is no water in the mains. Look out! A stick of bombs fall on the cross roads where we had been standing only seconds before, two firemen just disappear.’

Town fire services were nationalised for greater efficiency and central control and to ensure uniform standards. The Abingdon Fire Service became part of National Fire Service No 15 (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire).
Markers
Getting water appeared a problem for the fire service. In Abingdon a static water tank was put in the Market Square and aroused some criticism. A verse appeared in the North Berks Herald and is reprinted in the book …

A hole has appeared in the Market Square!
Now who in the deuce could have put it there?
Everyone is ‘hollering out’
And asking ‘What is it all about?’
The ‘whole thing seems extremely rum
Oh! Is it to be an aquarium?
Or maybe a Lido they’ll install
(High diving from the old Town Hall!)