Poetry in a Yorkshire Churchyard

Lightcliffe St Matthew near Halifax in West Yorkshire lays claim to a new Friends First – the first of our churches to have a poet in residence in the  churchyard!  Bob Horne is a well known local poet and publisher of poems, and since early 2017 has been writing poetry inspired by the history, nature, people and folklore of St Matthew’s Churchyard. 

April the Ninth

6.45 a.m. Sun just up, sky blue and gold.
I rest my bicycle against the back of a bench
next to Emily Jane Lister, ‘Beloved wife …’
Across Till Carr Lane Chris Green’s cattle
catch the warmth as the last of a light mist
lifts from the valley below. Birds everywhere,
soaking the air with their songs of spring.

From the top of an oak a woodpigeon,
still as the windless morning,
weighs up the world. An early bee
forages amongst last year’s leaves.
Drum roll of a distant woodpecker.

Pale yellow primroses, keys of Heaven,
flower of love, huddle on the graves
of Sam Watkinson and his neighbours.
Jackdaws carry twigs to the top of the bell tower.
Daffodils, that die on Easter Day, glow
against the dewy grass’s glossy green.

A duet of wrens defends the headstone
of Samuel Baines. Five crows float by.
From all corners a chorus of blackbirds
celebrates the sun’s slow resurrection
further north each morning.
A lengthening of light:
triumph, again, of day over night.

Bob Horne

Bob Horne
Bob Horne is a retired teacher, founder and Chair of Lightcliffe & District History Society.  He is also a publisher of poetry and runs Calder Valley Poetry.   We are very grateful to Bob for allowing us to reproduce his work and images here.