The Lowsenford Sentinel

IMG_0890 (Edited)

 (I was inspired to write this poem after seeing Antony Gormley’s sculpture by the locks on the Stratford-upon-Avon canal)

The Lowsenford Sentinel

Standing sentinel starboard side

Surveying passing boats.

Precariously peering port side

Boldly guarding the barrel cottage.

Watching the weary watermen

Granting them right of passage.


Spawned from an angel,

His iron form juts and muscles.

Strength exudes for all to see.

Power, a gentle giant, offering protection

From the pulsating water raging far below.



The Chosen One


Amid birch top branches the Cuckoo sits surveying,
Eyes firmly fixed upon the Chosen One.
Within seconds she swoops, this brood parasite,
Replacing the host egg with one of her own.
The Imposter!
Marvelously mimicking the discarded one.
Shirking parental responsibility
She drops the chosen one to the ground.
Shell crushed, this scrawny, unfeathered, yellow-beaked embryonic monstrosity,
It’s frog-like body twitching,
Eyes big, black, bulging,
Tiny heart pulsating,
Lies helpless on the ground.
Thrown out
Life only just beginning
Too miniscule to move, to crawl away to die.
Even it’s own mother wont miss it.
Stupid, ignorant mother bird
Don’t you know your baby needs you?
How can you be so easily fooled?
Surely you can see it’s bigger than your own.
Even you must feel a mother’s love.
Oh imposter, when you hatch
And throw your siblings to the ground
Won’t you feel guilt?
Or are your murderous actions so inbred?
Is it in our breeding too?
Is this yellow-eyed evil she monster simply looking after her own?
Is she in fact being strong?
Sacrificing another to protect her own,
Giving the best possible start in life she can.
Turning her back on what she loves
For a better life, a better start.
Who are we to judge?




Mia sat grim-faced as her father spoke.


‘You will never marry that drop-out bloke!

Rings through his nose and tattoos on his body –

A good wash he needs, not my daughter to marry!

Playing a guitar in a heavy metal band –

There’s no way I’ll agree to give him your hand!

Do you think that he’ll keep you as we do here?

You’ll have a rude awakening my dear!’


‘But I love him Dad – Oh, why can’t you see?’

Mia replied so dramatically.


‘You do not know what the word love means,

You will when you have babies’ mouths to feed!

You need a steady bloke like Rhys next door,

He has a good job, you would never be poor.

He always looks clean – with a good income too,

And you know that he’s always fancied you.

Forget all this band playing stuff and get

A man with a bank balance you won’t regret!’

With that her father walked to the door,

But Mia was angry and stamped on the floor!


‘RHYS!’ she bellowed, ‘Just look at the git!

He goes out in jumpers that his grandma knits!

Don’t expect me to ever marry that fool,

I’ve never seen anyone quite so uncool!

Marry him? Absolutely no way!

Imagine what my Facebook friends would say!

I’ll marry Andy and there’s nowt you can do!

And if you’re not at the wedding – well, that’s up to you!’


‘Is that a fact?’ was dad’s angry reply,

‘Your uncle in the States says that he’ll keep an eye.

You’ll study at Uni over there –

So get these foolish ideas out of your hair!’

With that he turned and walked out of the room

Leaving Mia sobbing with a feeling of doom.

She got out her mobile phone and rang Andy

And betwixt tears told him what her father had planned.

He soon calmed her down and gave her some hope,

By hatching a plan to run off and elope.

Mia, full of excitement, needed someone to tell,

So she went off to see her best friend El.


You must keep it a secret, no one must know.’

She told of the plan and where they would go.

Moving closer to Ellen she lowered her voice.

‘We will wait until midnight and make no noise,

I’ll creep out of the house while Dad is asleep,

He snores like a pig – they’ll not hear a peep!

Andy has mates, who are at a rock gig

In the grounds of a house, where we can live.

We can stay in their van on the camp site,

No one will find us – we will leave tonight!

From there we’ll head off to Gretna Green –

I’m so excited! Can you believe it?

I will be married – I’ll be Mrs Andy Lyse!’

And she gave El a hug and held her tight.

‘Dad said I should marry that Rhys next door!

Imagine anyone wanting that bore!’

But Ellen could think of nothing sweeter

Than marrying her heart-throb Rhys Demeter.

Each waking dream she spent glued to his side,

As she imagined becoming his beautiful bride.

They had met at college, even been on a date

But Rhys didn’t see golden haired El as his mate.

He was head over heels in love with Mia,

And could think of no one he found more dear.

When Mia had gone Ellen sat on her bed,

With thoughts of Rhys swimming around in her head.


‘I’ll tell Rhys of their plan – and he’ll soon see

That Mia doesn’t love him – and he’ll turn to me!’

She soon sent a carefully composed text,

Then sat back to see what would happen next.

At midnight Rhys rose, unable to sleep,

As the hands of his clock to the hour did creep.

Ellen also had Mia’s house in her vision,

Ready to follow her love on his mission.

Rhys, from his hiding place, saw Mia, in haste,

Emerge from her house, carrying a case.

Then Andy appeared from behind a fence.

The sky was dark, the air was tense.

Rhys waited a while then set off as well,

And finally, from a discreet distance came El.


 While this ‘Keystone cop’s’ scene was going on,

In the Warwickshire countryside was Ron.

He was arguing fiercely with his wife,

(Something they’d done for most of their life.)

Both in their mid-fifties – ‘the ‘Big House’ they owned.

They were preparing to open up their grounds.

They needed cash to keep the house in repair –

 Fit for the life style that he thought they should wear.

Ron was a cockney, nod-nod, wink-wink type,

Anna was his peroxide blond haired wife.

Today she was wearing a short pink skirt,

Her large bosom spilling from a matching shirt.

She tottered on stilettos as she walked

And Ron shouted loudly as they talked.


‘I need your man to give me some help!

I can’t put up porta loos by myself!’


‘The fairy lights need to go in the trees,

Your loos must wait until he’s done these!’

Anna stormed off and now the coast was clear,

From behind a tree Ron’s friend did appear.


‘All I want is her handyman’s help!

I suppose I’ll have to do it myself!

I’d like her out of my way till this is all clear

So she can’t keep on bashing my ear!’


‘Hypnosis you need – you just need me –

I can help you my friend – for a small fee.’


‘You can do that?’ said Ron in surprise.


‘Indeed I can Ron – right before your eyes!

But what about having a bit of fun?

We might as well enjoy the job being done!’


‘What do you mean?’ queried Ron as he spoke

(Knowing that Rob liked a practical joke.)


‘I’ll tell her that the first person she sees

She’ll fall in love with and go weak at the knees.’


‘You’re on,’ said Ron, now enjoying the joke,

‘But make sure that Anna will never know!’

Just then Andy slowly walked into view.

‘Andy mate, what a surprise seeing you!’


Mia and me are hiding out on the field.


Well, you’re very welcome mate, my lips are sealed.

Andy walked on to find his girl to woo.


‘It looks as if he needs some hypnotism too!’

Rob then departed in search of Anna

Whom he came across untangling a banner.

‘You look tired Annie – need some TLC?’


‘It’s that husband of mine, he keeps getting at me!’


‘Well sit down then luv take the weight off your feet,

Come on gal; use this log as a seat.’

Anna did exactly as Rob had mentioned,

Pleased someone, at last, was showing her attention.


‘You’re an old fool Rob – but a rest would be nice –

Just don’t tell Ron!’ And she then closed her eyes.


‘Just relax, listen to my voice, and then

Unwind – as I count from one up to ten.’

Anna did precisely as she’d been told

And Rob soon began to feel very bold.

‘Now you’re asleep Anna, listen to me,

When you wake up you’ll fall for the first man you see.’

Rob crept off leaving Anna snoring away,

Pleased with himself and his mischievous play.

He then came across Andy having a rest

And decided to put more of his powers to the test.

Flushed with success from his actions before,

Rob worked his hypnotic magic once more.

His next victim, Rhys, he found under a tree,

Looking a picture of complete misery.

With his confidence growing by the hour,

Rob once again performed his magical power.

He decided that love was everyone’s right

And he went off feeling pleased with his night.

Ellen came next and she stopped to see

Andy curled up at the base of a tree.


‘Andy! Where’s Mia? She said in surprise.

Andy awoke and he then rubbed his eyes.

The girl he saw he wanted as his wife –

The most beautiful girl that he’d seen all his life!


I love you Ellen! He proclaimed on one knee.


‘What!’ said Ellen, ‘Are you talking to me?’

Taken aback by this affectionate man,

Ellen turned on her heels and ran and ran.

Into the arms of a confused Rhys,

Who was suddenly awoken from his sleep.

Rhys, Rhys, save me!’ He heard Ellen scream,

And before him he saw the girl of his dreams.

He leapt up and took Ellen into his arms,

Totally beguiled by her feminine charms.

Ellen thought that at last her luck was in,

                                        And so she also declared her love for  him.                                                                                          


 Meanwhile just a little way away

A rock band struck up and started to play

Heavy metal music – the music was crude,

A discordant group, who all were tattooed,

They were neither accomplished nor attractive,

Their leader, Rock Bottom, appeared the most active.

Black leather jacket with matching hose,

Black and white zombie make-up and a ring through his nose.

Rock thought that his outfit was really cool

Unfortunate observers just thought him a fool!


‘I want peace man, I won’t be very long.

Need to learn the lyrics of my opening song.’

So he went down the path, singing so loud

That Anna awoke with the unearthly sound.

And she, seeing the apparition above,

Immediately fell deeply in love!

She rushed up to him – didn’t give a heck,

As she threw her chubby little arms round his neck.

She lavished him with slobbery kisses

And knew at that moment just what bliss is.

Ron and Rob were hiding behind a tree,

Holding their sides, laughing merrily.


‘I’ve seen enough,’ said Ron, helpless with mirth,

‘Let the guy go before he’s lost in her girth!’

So Rob clapped his hands halting Anna’s plight

And Rock Bottom ran off staggering into the night.

Rob then released Andy from his hypnotic state

And Mia and Andy once again became mates.

As Ellen and Rhys were doing so well

He decided not to break their spell.

Agreeing to let Rob be so mischievous,

Made Ron feel guilty at causing the fuss.

He decided in order to make amends

He would finance the weddings of his friends.

Rock Bottom agreed happily to perform

And the weddings took place upon the lawn.

Anna’s fairy lights twinkled in the branches,

No expense was spared – they even had dancers!

The brides looked serene in their wedding gowns,

And Andy – so handsome in his suit of brown.

Rhys looked a very cheery fellow,

In his gran-knitted jumper of primrose yellow.

Anna, in scarlet, fussed over the brides,

With her four beloved poodles by her side.

Mustard and Blossom, Moth and Gossamer –

Matching their mistress with bright scarlet fur.

Surprised to have found the lead singer so appealing,

Anna danced until midnight and went to bed reeling.



‘I know I like a bit of fun –

But all worked out well when it was done!

Mia married Andy Lyse,

(Disregarding dad’s advice)

Rhys finally wooed his golden El,

Now we hear their wedding bells!

Anna made her peace with Ron

And for Rock Bottom his show went on!

I hope you enjoyed my tangled theme,

This twisted plot being just a dream!’



Tobias and the magic water.

With his muscular body framed by the cave,             

Tobias looked at his followers, their faces so grave.

‘Hear me now! Our medicines no longer work,

Our children are dying, this is our curse.

A whole generation wiped out in one strike,

We must act very quickly – this is our fight!

Last night the Gods visited me in a dream,

They told me of the magical powers of a stream.

The journey is hard – a course we must plot,

We’ll need to work together – are you with me or not?’

Tobias waited as the men looked around

Uncertain and worried – their fear profound.

They muttered to each other and into groups broke –

Until, at last, Tobias spoke ……..

‘Those that are with me stand alone,

Those that are not, go back to your homes.

Look after our families while we’re away –

You are needed too, so you do not betray.’

Tobias’ bronzed muscles gleamed in the sun.

He had a group of strong followers – his mission had begun!

They assembled at sunrise, with pikes and with spears,

Kissed their sick children and dried their wives tears.

The start of the journey was easy and firm,

They set off in sunshine – but soon that was to turn!

The sky grew dark and the clouds rolled in,

The rain lashed down with a thunderous din.

Some of the men decided to run,

They found this expedition was not much fun!

So left with a depleted army of men

Tobias faced the few and he spoke again.

‘We will face much worse along our way

But think what you’ll achieve if you stay!

Your bairns will be cured they’ll grow up to be strong,

So hold firm to your pledge – you’ll be home ‘ere long.’

So once more rallied they set off again,

An army of brave and determined young men –

But suddenly they heard an ominous roar –

A sound of the like they had heard not before!

And there before them a dark shape appeared,

With glowing eyes – skull-like face – shaggy coat – and a long grey beard!

The roar got louder as more figures abound –

The men turned to run but they were surrounded.

‘Stay where you are – don’t try to flee!

I will tempt them with food, just leave it to me.’

Tobias took a ham from out of his sack –

The animals smelt it and began to attack.

Tobias threw the ham down onto the ground,

The animals pounced issuing a terrible sound.

‘RUN!’ shouted Tobias ‘while the beasts I distract,

Run for your life – don’t just stand there, REACT!’

They hid for a while and then went on their way,

‘Till at last the stream before them lay.

The stream to cure their girl or boy,

They looked in wonder, love and joy.

Then high up above the stream arose imp-like figures, grey and green,

With wicked face and fin-like wings, the ugliest creatures ever seen.

A ghostly mist and a humming drone

Filled the air and made men groan.

The sound grew louder, as did their fear,

They fell to their knees and covered their ears!

Tobias could see his men lying prone,

He knew at this point he was on his own.

As the creatures hovered above the stream

He tried to remember the words from his dream.

The gods they had warned of creatures in flight,

Who guarded the stream during day and by night.

These creatures were vicious, their manners were dire,

The only way to be rid of them – was by building a fire!

Quickly he gathered some sticks and some bark –

He rubbed sticks together to create a spark.

He piled on more twigs till the flames built in height,

The imps started jabbering in their fright.

Then, gradually drawn in, one by one,

They were devoured by the flames – until they were gone!

The men, now recovered from their fear,

Saw what had happened and gave Tobias a cheer!

Then, with excitement, they gathered the water

(Water to give life to their son or their daughter)

They were greeted with ‘Bravo’, and laughter and tears,

Their bravery remembered for many long years.

Tobias was given ‘City Freedom’ for life,

Cause he was responsible that his town had survived!