The Needwood Wassail

Two sides bordered by Derby-lands
In the west, dark Bagot’s brooding stands
Trent to the south the flowing lifeblood
‘twixt them all, our fair green wood

Wassail! Wassail! On this Twelvey night!
Wassail Wassail! Your whole year be bright!

Our ancient forest calls to the heart
Rich soil, gentle valleys, never to part
Stout oak, lithe hazel, the black elder tree
We raise up our glasses and drink unto thee

Wassail! Wassail! On this Twelvey night!
Wassail Wassail! Your whole year be bright!

We, the folk of the five parishes
We, the stewards of the wood, cherish’d
Open up! Open up! And let us all in,
Open up! Open up! Or we’ll make a right din

Wassail! Wassail! On this Twelvey night!
Wassail Wassail! Your whole year be bright!

Saved from the axe, saved from the fire
The Needwood is rising, rising like spires
The Winter is going, watch it retreat,
Good health, raise cheer, give thanks for the feast

Wassail! Wassail! On this Twelvey night!
Wassail Wassail! Your whole year be bright!

Wæs þu hæl!

Flower, ’91

My “Summer of Love”, ha! ’91?
Hardly ’67; capitalism had won
Thatcher’s decade just over, but still Blue
Prospects positive, nerves shredded, no clue
What was to come.
We fired up the Polo with the wonky exhaust
Loaded in ourselves, tents, made course
Down the ’38, over glistening Tamar
To Kernow, through Saltash and a-far.
The tape cassette whined all the way.
Anthropomorphic dance moves
Upper body whirled, feet glued
To the bass line of ‘Flower’ and ‘White Shirt’
No pogoing but still my back hurt
The next morning; I’d slept all rucked up
Dark eyes, small, bleary and shot
Peered out at the world from a blue hooded top
In the days when ‘brunch’ simply meant
You’d been up late and were spent,
Pasties for breakfast; dive-bombing seagulls.