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Best Poems Written by Thomas Mansfield

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Lights Out

One hundred years on and still the shout
“Everyone put your lights out”
Just for an hour from 10 to 11
And remember all those souls in heaven

One hundred years and still the cry
The perennial unanswered question “why?”
Is there a need in this hour of deed
For any to ignore or not to heed?

One hundred years, millions dead
In battles, wars and streets of dread
Trenches then, now car bombs blast
Tearing at families left aghast

One hundred years – again LIGHTS OUT
Not one city but the country throughout
Is this too much to ask ourselves
For those who died through bayonet and shells?

Lights out and let us honour our dead
Light a single candle in room or shed
Remember those terse words upon us yet
“Lest we Forget – lest we forget!”

August 4th 2014

Copyright © Thomas Mansfield | Year Posted 2014

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August 4 1914

It was the summer - August 4
When England joined the First World War
1914 the very year
Before wives and children shed their bitter tears

‘The war to end wars’ was the battle cry
Before there had been one widow’s sigh
The men lined up by the score
To enlist, sacrifice themselves to this bitter war

Friends and families made their mark
Pals regiments were formed in town and park
From factories, clubs, offices and farms 
They became privates, sergeants, men at arms

And off they went through the streets
Not knowing that they were cannon meat
Cheered and applauded as they marched
Toward war’s verdant fields not yet parched

“It’ll be over by Christmas” came the call
“Get over there one and all”
No one of them, home or abroad
Had ever heard of “Total War”

Posters beckoned from every wall
Poets wrote of war’s enthrall
Songs and stories came thick and fast
Glorifying war and our heroic past

But very soon came the acrid truth
Millions dead - “Anthem of Doomed Youth”
Trial by ordeal and fire and zeal
A generation gone through war’s sharp steel

The sombre, bitter, vile death-calls
Quickly killed the tunes of the music halls
Wounded, dead, disfigured men
Many mutilated beyond any ken

At the end it was all for naught
That carnage in each battle fought
Kings deposed and Empires lost
But the worst thing was the human cost

One hundred years to this very day
Like then we shake our heads and say
Still in wars our sons and daughters die
To all that is holy, why? oh why?

Copyright © Thomas Mansfield | Year Posted 2014

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The River Mersey and The Black Pearl New Brighton

 The River Mersey and The Black Pearl New Brighton 

Let the Caribee and sultry sea call to the pirates bold. 
But on this shore, with its tales of lore, The Mersey keeps its hold
For merchants, priests and pirates too left these docks to find
A new life abroad with bible or sword, leaving their old life far behind

They ventured near and ventured far across the seven seas
Across foreign lands, jungles and sands and swamps way past their knees
And though they prospered, lived and fought in many a distant place
The Mersey’s banks beckoned them as fast as its tidal pace

No matter where in the world they are they’ll never forget the sound
Of the Mersey’s constant ebb and flow or the feel of the sandstone ground
So dream and wander; take to sea and soothe your wanderlust
For you know that within yourself, you’ll return - and that’s a must

Whether mortal body, spirit or mind, or everlasting soul
The wanderer always returns to the place that made them whole
Empires built and Empires lost and many a treasure gone
There’s always the constant, aching yearn by each and every one

To step on this land, on the Mersey sand, or mud up to their shin
And reminisce of the old ferries and the loud New Brighton din
To sail across the river on an ancient battered boat
That’s survived the years of ravages and yet still remains afloat 

The Black Pearl’s every timber was washed upon the beach
Beyond salvage from wrecks of ships, beyond anybody’s reach
Returning too to their resting place they floated harmlessly
Or tossed upon the sandstone rock with a tempest’s cruel fury 

Her many flags fly from her masts as if in a never-ending toast
To ships and boats of every size and shape from every coast
They too salute this edifice of flotsam, debris and waste
As they sail from mighty Liverpool to beat the tide as they make haste

But Black Pearl is deeply anchored with piles into the rock
Her builders come from all walks of life, from every social stock
She thrives on more additions from visitors galore
And let’s their imaginations carry them further still and more

To the Caribee and the sultry sea and to pirates in their coves
To the hidden buried treasures and stories of wealth and loves
Children young and children old and children in between 
Can stand upon her shipshape decks and be what they want to seem

For the Black Pearl’s made of magic and stories still untold
And to all who step upon her decks she lets their tales unfold
So climb aboard and let’s set sail and ride the river’s waves
And never move a moment amid stories of lagoons and caves

Let the stories wash and ebb and flow and be spun with yarn and jest 
Cast off the fetters of your mind and let your tales just be the best
Close your eyes, feel the breeze and smell the salty air 
Allow your fantasies to unfurl, like the flags fluttering there.

Copyright © Thomas Mansfield | Year Posted 2015

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August in twenty fourteen
A sign of death upon the screen
West Africa - Liberia, 
Sierra Leone - now Nigeria

A swathe of death - a swift nasty one
Sweeps through these lands killing one by one
Who knows where this invisible curse
Will strike or if it will get worse

(EVD) - Ebola virus disease 
Ravaged through these 4 countries
And soon it spread and people died
Like flies in houses and at the roadside

Alerts are bounding around the world
As the death count starts to unfurl
These modern times - digital age
Everyone can see the news presage

Up to date. NOW we see
Morbidly watching the catastrophe
As countries declare States of Emergency
Life goes on for millions and me

Before I even set out for Nigeria
There were stories of this Ebola
“Another black death, the modern plague,”
Mentioned in words without being vague

Before we all roll over or throw up our hands
Crying “God’s wrath threatens our lands”
Remember this thing’s been around before
In ’76 it first came to the fore
What it is and what the end result
Is for us all to prevent tumult  
Personal cleanliness, care, hygiene 
Can kill this silent killer unseen

We cannot encase ourselves in glass
Or stop walking in cities or on fields of grass
Life must go on - these things be fought
And not roll over and let it take its course.

So yes, we should all be alarmed
But let ourselves be duly armed
Observe and listen to what should be done
And we can stay safe – almost everyone.

Copyright © Thomas Mansfield | Year Posted 2014

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The Black Pearl Poem - Booty Returned

Like many merchant vessels
That sailed from our Mersey shore
This sturdy piece of timber
Can hold its own in tales of yore

A dried up piece of flotsam
Washed up on Wirral banks
Was dutifully cleaned and dressed
And a verse written on its shank

Amid the other bits of timber
That made up the Black Pearl
This poem had taken its place
With the many flags unfurled

Everything in Pearl had stories
Of pirates tales galore
Made up, true or invented
No one really knows for sure

But each made up this pirate ship
That was not built in any dock 
Neither wind nor tide could shake her
Sturdy on her rock

And then one day a storm rolled in
December Twenty thirteen
Unleashed torrential fury
That until then none had seen

Tempest battered Black Pearls flanks
Steadfast in the wind she’d sway
Ripped viciously at her robust planks
Sadly some things were washed away

One of these was this poem
That a little boy had wrote
Whose parents could not see the ship
Now at sea awash did float

Although lost in the Mersey’s waters
Both brown as murky tea
This poem on wood was never lost
Nor did she sail back to sea

Instead with the tides it ebbed and flowed
Liverpool’s docks had called it there
From where it may have started
No one knew or even cared

And then one day some months ahead
Lewis Baigent found sure fame
For bobbing in dock waters
He found the very same

Words still clear upon the wood
Not a letter out of place
The chain and rope still part of it
And the skull and crossbones face

The word got round to Black Pearl’s crew
The booty was held and fast
They sent a party to redeem her 
To be returned again at last

To take its place once again
Upon famed Black Pearl’s hull
And stories, myths and legends
Will abound ‘til we are full

Of yarns and tales and stories rich 
One greater than the other
Dredged from imaginations
And narrated without any bother

So gather round my children
Mums and dads and more
Dogs and cats and grown ups
And you loiterers on the shore

For what I have to tell you 
Is not all just hearsay
This poem has ventured near and far
But has been returned this day

Copyright © Thomas Mansfield | Year Posted 2014

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Pick Yourself Up Dust Yourself Down

Pick Yourself Up – Dust Yourself Down

Is there a glimmer of hope in this convoluted soup
Is there a sign that all is not such a cock-a-hoop?
I came in here with blind hope and faith
And sit here now with a sweet bitter taste

A poem I’d read after such a relaxing night
Tore at my heart with such fierce might
From one of poetry soup’s own “elite”
Threw her splintered soul down at our feet

Like many she’d felt that alluring pull
That, in its time, had made her feel full
Had filled her world, her life, her words
Now she’s left feeling so absurd

Betrayed? Or was it something more?
A hint of love, through silken words galore
We’ve all seen and heard the literary whore
Who builds you up then knocks down your door

How many times over these electronic years
Have we seen people left in tears
By the ruthless cyber predators
These cruel emotional interlopers

Whose whispers woo and wind and wend
Through frail emotions that they transcend
Until the soul thief’s goal reaches its end
Leaving shattered hearts that’ll never mend

But the poet that lingers within us all
Lulls damaged minds with an incessant call
Cuts through self-doubt and low self esteem
Reminds us it’s not all as it seems

Instils words to our damaged minds
Washes over actions and phrases so unkind
And builds us up once again
Gives us the courage to pick up our pen

No muse, nobody - outside influence
Will ever give us such confidence
But inside us all that incessant urge
Encourages us for our souls to purge

So let them out: those emotions raw
Throw open wide the windows and doors
Burst forth with words from your very core
Leave people pleading for more and more

So pick yourself up - dust yourself down
Do not sit and mope with a morbid frown
Unleash the poet, the scribe, the clown
Reach for that pen and “go to town”

Copyright © Thomas Mansfield | Year Posted 2014

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Multicultural Britain - An Unapologetic Statement

Multicultural Britain
(An Unapologetic Statement)

Two “Festivals of Light” there are
Each and every year
The Jewish have their Hanukah
And Hindus their Diwali cheer

The end of Ramadan brings Eid il Fitr
The Muslim fasting's passed
The Welsh National Eisteddford
Culture, craft, songs not surpassed

There is the pagan Betain
That Celtic Festival of Fire
And the famous summer Solstice
Stonehenge, druids and sun inspire

Halloween crosses boundaries
Between Christian and Heathen
Leading on into November
Honouring death and ghosts of men

But amid all this Britain is
A bastion of Christianity
While accepting all religions
They too should be made to see

That in our tolerance still we stand
With our ceremonies and feasts in tact
Our Lent, Easter and Christmas
This is a simple statement of fact

Please don’t tread upon these rights
Which we’ve defended for years
Don’t rename our traditions
And cause confusion or trite fear

The Godless in society
Can rant and claim new ground
But faith is our foundation
And that foundation is very sound

So it IS a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year too
The Scots can call is Hogmanay
Because they have and always do

It is a happy holiday
To all despite their creed
To each give them utmost respect
In thought and word and deed

But let us all remember
Respect is a two way street
Do not dictate our policies
Among people that you meet

This country was here before you came
And settled on these shores
This is the British way of life
That you’ve chosen, now, as yours

So let the religions flourish
And none to those who’ve none
And live in total harmony
Until our time is done

Copyright © Thomas Mansfield | Year Posted 2014

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The Dignity Of It All

The Dignity Of It All

Don’t look me in the eye
Don’t look at me and sigh
Or shake your head and wonder why

As I walk along the street
Ensuring our eyes never meet
I frown, and look down at my feet

A mere and simple cleaner
Don’t laugh at my demeanour
Don’t be sad, for there are no keener

No barrister am I
No educated guy
Don’t look me in the eye!

That dirty, menial task
Which for nobody would ask
(Nor do I behind this subtle mask)

I pick your rubbish of the floor
While you hurry through the door
Who am I to ask for more?

But if you gave another look
You’d surely bring yourself to book
For my “lack of pride” you’ve sure mistook

I may clean up all your dregs
But I’m not one who begs
Not while I can stand on my own two legs

Don’t think that it’s a pity
As you travel through the city
Don’t dare question my dignity!

For you see I’m very proud
Of that I’d shout aloud
Above the heads of any crowd

Because, in my mind, I guess
Somebody must clean up your mess
Though it’s me I am no less

An honest person - just like you
Who takes pride in what they do
(Is there a moral in here too?)

Don’t look me in the eye
We just can’t see eye to eye
As I pick up your junk and sigh.

Copyright © Thomas Mansfield | Year Posted 2014

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Wizened skin like burnished leather
Thin, grey and long, disheveled hair
Clear, sharp blue eyes that seem to stare
Through sun scorched face, alert, aware

A ‘lived-In’ face that’s so expressive
Tales he tells read like a missive
His arms and hands he flails about
To all he jests, he seems to shout

Belying age with youthful vigour
He starts his day with seeming rigour
But, easy going, he always jokes
With folk at whom, light fun, he pokes

He’s up each morning before the dawn
Striding, planning, never forlorn
Before sunrise you’ll hear with luck
His famous catch-phrase,  “Get Tae F***!”

He’s worked on rigs for oh, so long
With everyone he gets along
On the “fine old lady” Stena Clyde
No deference – ALL he does deride

From owner, manager and high paid “suits”
To lowly boys who clean the boots
The tone the same, The grin, the look,
The cheeky laugh, the “Get Tae F***!”

Sub zero frost or tropical heat
His ardour you will find hard to beat
Old habits die hard they say
Not his – he does them anyway!

Does a place exist he’s never been?
That has a port that’s never seen
This tall slim figure filled with pluck
Or heard his raucous, “Get Tae F***!”

They say he’s always been a sailor
From Antarctic wastes upon an ancient whaler
15 years old in the South Atlantic
A hardy life, forget romantic!

Steam driven ships before motor’s advent
He sailed near and far. Came and went.
A story true with each port of call
His audience he holds in thrall

But all through this, both feet aground
Though invitations still abound
To high profile golf tournaments
The best hospitality at these events

He mixes with the best of them
The rich and famous golfing men
Yet on the course when he mis-hits his ball
Not “fore” but G.T.F. to all

And so it seems his time has come
To rest upon his laurels some
He’ll sure be missed – God Speed, Good Luck
It’s been a pleasure Jimmy, “Get Tae F***!”

No dismissive snort from any here
From us, a greeting, a hearty cheer
Received with grace, a smile - a look.
You grin then tell us,  “Get Tae F***!”

Copyright © Thomas Mansfield | Year Posted 2014

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Black Pearl Pirate Ship versus Hurricane Bertha

Black Pearl Pirate Ship versus Hurricane Bertha
August 9th 2014.

Liverpool was a mighty port
New Brighton stood by Perch Rock Fort
The Black Pearl sat on Wirral sands and stone
And against Hurricane Bertha stood alone
Bertha howled and shrieked anew
A massive wind that blew and blew
Waves and tides lashed at Black Pearl 
But could not unseat this ungainly girl
Her wood and flotsam together held 
As the hurricane's fury unfurled
And threw at her all that it had 
But could not wrest Pearl from her pad
Earlier Pearls had sadly succumbed
To other winds and tides and storms
But this Black Pearl finally won
And Wirral's wonder remained undone
Noddy and his motley crew
Had taken precautions and had paid their due
And now as calm is once more restored
Everyone can get on board
Fix her up for all the kids to see
(From 2 years old to seventy)

Copyright © Thomas Mansfield | Year Posted 2014