All other poems entered by adults in Headington Poetry Competition 2001



Headington, a place of bustle and haste,
With shops and restaurants to suit every taste,
Suffers rush hour jams with traffic congestion,
There doesn’t seem to be a remedial suggestion.

Still, as a resident of some years,
And despite over development fears,
I call it home and we’re reluctant to move,
The character of the place can only improve.

With good people of the same intention,
The future is promising with a little invention,
So here’s looking forward with optimism,
Headington can survive both Brookes and tourism!

Sonnet: Where are you, oh spirit of Headington?

Headington, where does your spirit exist
In roads and recreation grounds, shops, parks, walls,
Community centres, schools, hospitals?
Or in people’s souls is your spirit kissed?
Of what contents does your pleasance consist?
Are you home at dawn or when evening falls?
Are you warm, or cold as a serpent crawls?
Is your welcome too intense to resist?
As crime gathers steam and screaming cars wail,
Do you still breeze through all our frustration?
Will you work to redeem, or will all fail,
As all things ooze deterioration?
As people awake, prove they are not stale,
Your heart will rove again –– through all our nation.


Come here for charity shopping,
Buy a house, or view the Shark.
“We’d love to,” say the punters,
“But we can’t afford to park!”

Democracy at War

Lamppost stickers scream out “Keep the pound!”
Adding “And Save Democracy!” Resist
This lie, folks. Friendly European states
Are all democracies – not Communist.

They’re not Islamic either. But it’s odd
No stickers cry that Headington’s at war.
Are we not proud to join the USA? –
The richest nation versus the most poor!

Headington in a Nutshell

Students babble at Oxford Brookes
The shark conceals its bashful head
The buses career along the road
Miss your footing and you’re dead.

A Set of Clerihews about Headington

Paul Eddington
Never set foot in Headington;
Do you not find it rather sinister
That he preferred to star in “Yes Minister”?
Offers an exciting, modern third way
For people to get their Headington news on a plate,
Especially if they like it a hundred years out of date.

Father Michael
Can often be spotted in Headington on a rather fine cycle;
Had his name been Marcus or Balthasar
Doubtless he would have been seen instead in a bus or a car.

Mrs Moore and C.S. Lewis
Lived in Holyoake Road in unwedded bliss
Then Joy Davidman moved into lodgings in Old High Street;
You’ll have to watch “Shadowlands” if you want this story complete.

Oxford Brookes
Is not always in local residents’ good books;
It would have gained a lot more sympathy
If it had called itself Headington University.

Bill Heine
Hails from somewhere like North or South Carolina;
He knocked a hole through his roof to accommodate a shark
And now when it rains he is sorely in need of an ark.

Has now deserted me
(They don’t ’arf outclass us
On Mount Parnassus.)

Elizabeth Jennings

(lived in Headington; died October 2001)

This stone in my autumn garden gathering moss
Once formed part of a Saxon arch or wall
In a nearby church. Stone feels no sense of loss.
Under the centuries’ devastating crawl
Poets die, while strata buckle,
Carrying among their folds
This mountain’s bone, this glacier’s knuckle,
To end among my marigolds.

This book on my table with its yellowing pages
Forms part of the work of a poet lately dead.
Because she suffered much, her verse assuages
Pain. With what lies unsaid almost said,
She speaks of poverty, madness
And faith. She fights when she is able
For joy and human good, no less.
Her hopes end up upon my table.

The vultures gather over Bombay’s Towers
Of Silence. Here the Parsi bodies lie
On grills, until those feathered aerial powers
Devour their flesh and maggots multiply
In their intestines. Then the bones
Fall through the grill and drop below.
It’s midnight now. No words or stones
Obliterate the things I know.

If poems are carved from silences, as we think,
Those who pass through the mortal gate must find
A world of clattering verse. And yet to link
Love sonnets with that grave world feels unkind –
Or are there better things in store?
For answer, vultures croak denial.
Our bones are falling, more and more,
Adding to the foetid pile.

Headington Business Association Funday, Christmas 2000

On a cold bright winter’s morn
The chorale society sang
And harmonised well their songs
While the silver and brass bands played
Their dancing crotchets and quavers
Tiptoeing a ballet on thin lines of stave.

Those diminutive tots of stage set “Sparkles”
They danced & danced so totally unfazed
Mums and dads watched and encourage
And their Teacher did show the way
While our local St. Andrew’s school children
Conspired to blow Jack Frost away.

Old Father Christmas did duly arrive
In regalia as old as his age
But located within his shoulder sack
Were presents galore for our modern age
He placed his bulk upon a rickety chair
And decided to ‘Ho Ho’ his way through the rest of the day.

Our Celeb Louise of TV fame
Arrived to a fanfare of, Hello and Hi.
She then flicked the switch all without hitch
Which turned on our Christmas tree light display
She was utterly amazed to see such a fine array,
For low and behold it truly was magic within the light of day!

Now with raffles a plenty, and a funfair to boot
Where children enjoyed the slides and rides
The doves of twilight start to descend
And envelop this happy delight
But now one could see, no more a mystery
And for the first time in history a festive street light display!

Here endeth the day and the tale of our Fun Day
Which was organised by such a few
So do let’s keep it going with the help of all’s spirit
And the Headington HBA That’s ‘Headington Business Association’ to you!
This year’s help is out there somewhere, so let’s get together for this year’s do.

The Grove

I live in a Grove
It’s called Ash Grove
The Grove for the
Trees in the road
We had six shops
Two grocers and the fish shop
And on the corner
We had a baker shop
With shoe and paper shop
We even had a celebration
For at the end of the war
With bonfire in the road.

I expect you know by now
I’m a senior citizen
And thinking of the past,
And now one of ten
Left in the Grove

London Road, Headington

Underpass – a throughway, red lights and some poor buildings: No grass.

History – of quarried stone passed through, carried downhill: Carted.

Brownhill – twisting West through flanked walls and higher trees: Descent: A vista.

Beyond – and beyond to clothe and grow a town’s stone heritage: Craftsmen: Learning.

Screaming – siren and rhythmic chant (now silent) to the Manor led. Brown horses: Reflectors: Tunics.

Dreaming – Headington gateway to the gateway: To the Plain: To the Bridge: To the gate at the Eastgate: To the dream inspired.

Pass by – pass through: Pass under: Headington….

Summer in Barton

The summer sound
of screeching wheels.
The summer scent
of tarmac and tyres.

Kids’ voices
colouring the evening sun.
A barbeque, a stereo,
the ring-road’s white hum.

TV noise from windows
Oopened to thick air
Overblown, fat leaves
reaching through the window.

The sight of green
And the sound of cars
Colours my dreams
In summer.

Our Heart, Our Home …

A few miles east of the city,
Lays a place with everything for all,
Whether it be for Banking or Food,
Or a simple trip to the park to play Football.

The history and character,
Brings a unique roof insert of a Shark,
Which can be viewed whilst on foot,
Or on one of the many Buses we embark.

It’s our heart, it’s our home,
Long lived spirit and faith never gone,
Quite simply,
It’s the wonder of Headington.

Ode to the Millennium

Two thousand years we proudly chant
And as we gladly celebrate
Just spare a though for those brave lads
Who fought to make our country great.

My England to me is a country apart
I’ve travelled the World and come home, glad of heart,
The Cities and Towns, the Hills and the Dales,
Green Pastures and Fiords, the Farms and the Fields,
Where Country Folk live, who have so much to give.

Guard wisely your Heritage you Youth of Today,
That you and your children may be proud of our race.

The Shark


Sing a song of Oxford, my tale is but a spoof.
Four and twenty seagulls sitting on a roof.
One of them espied the Shark, the birds began to sing
“What a dainty fish this is, Bill Heine did us bring!”

The mayor was in the parlour, wondering was it true?
The planners in their chamber, uncertain what to do,
Bill was in the garden hanging out the clothes ––
Down came a seagull, asked “Has your Shark a nose?”


Still the visitors come – gaze up to the sky –
“What is it?” they ask – “And why?”

Shopping in Headington

H ardware and Haircuts both on sale here

E ducation and curry washed down with a beer

A rtwork, Holidays, and loans from a bank,

D ental treatment, Chiropractice, and fish for your tank.

I nvestments and Petrol to keep your car going

N ewspapers and fertilizer to assist grass in growing

G owns for your wedding, as well as the cake,

T iles and Diamonds, both real and fake,

O ven gloves, dog trims, sweets for a treat,

N o end to the shopping just up your street

Headington’s dilemma

Headington’s facade decrepit but nice
Emulating old fashionedness but at what price?
Antiquities a few but relics more like
Diverse but obtuse its origin and root with
Interesting history when all is let loose
Negating modernism with all its might while
Galloping along in a melancholy race, still
Trying its best by day and by night to be
Open and friendly and the best of mates but,
Nothing can beat its subliminal pace.

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