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Daily Archives: April 11, 2015


It’s the Grand National
The world’s greatest ever race
The first fence comes so quickly, it’s 4ft.6”
But only time will tell
The second fence is even closer 4ft.7”
So if I jump this one
I must be doing well
But the horses just keep galloping on
The fences are getting higher
And now the next one’s here
My stomach is feeling queer
But the next fence is in front of me
It’s where that Captain Beecher fell
Now I am feeling dizzy I don’t know which way to go
Foinavon, Canal Turn, The Booth
And the Westhead are all in front of me
Next is The Chair just standing there
It’s 6ft tall the largest of all
Here comes the water jump
It’s not so tall but the longest of them all
I can see the winning post
Oh no there’s one more round to go
But the riders must ask for more
494 yards to go to the winning post
To win the greatest race of all
By Thomas Sims

Two Poems About The Boat Race


As it is still April, which means that it is still Poetry Month, today HTBS will post two poems, both about the Oxford–Cambridge Boat Race which was rowed on 7 April, 2012. To be honest, I am not sure if I should called both these writings poems, as only one is written by a real poet, HTBS’s own Poet Laureate of Rowing, Philip Kuepper. The second ‘poem’ is written by, well … ehh, never mind… Enjoy!

Rowers, True

The tower of Christ dreamed
As King’s enchoired the evening
At the close of the day of the race.
Dusk brushed gray the river
Where earlier the men had rowed.

Their psyches flowed like rivers in them,
Rivers of memory of what had happened,
Their race, suddenly!,
Blitzed by an anarchist
Throwing himself in the path of their boats,

The smooth river, suddenly!,
A shark-like thrashing of confusion,
The rowers, suddenly!,
Oaring to stillness their boats.
They tread the river with dismay,

The anarchist shark thrashing the river to chaos,
The race attacked, blood spilled,
The heart of the race wounded.
The shark cleared from the river,
The rowers turned, again, to the race,

The order of the day brought
Into a semblance of balance.
Yet anarchy was still
To force its hand,
As an oar’s blade broke,

Depriving one boat of a rower.
Anger, heartbreak rowed in his place.
But the tower of Christ dreamed
As King’s enchoired the evening.
The rowers had crossed

The finish line, regardless,
Rowing their dream to reality.

Philip Kuepper

The Row of the Brave Eighteen
(with apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Two more miles, two more miles,
Two crews go onward,
Upon the water of Thames
Rowed the two brave eights.
‘Forward, the Light Blue crew!
Charge for the Cup!’ cox yelled.
Upon the water of Thames
Rowed the two brave eights.

‘Forward, you Dark Blue crew!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the oarsmen knew –
There’s no room for blunder:
They provide no reply,
They’re not to reason why,
They are to row, or die:
Upon the water of Thames
Rowed the two brave eights.

Public to right of them,
Public to left of them,
Public ahead of them,
Voices roll like thunder,
Storm’d at with shout and yell,
Boldly they rowed and well,
Into the snare of Hell,
Into the mocking scene
Rowed the brave eighteen.

Flashing all oars so bare,
Flashing them up in air
Pulling and pulling – ‘there…’
Charging on, no despair,
Then, what a scheme, so mean,
Plunged from the shore, this bloke
Swam in their lane, dimwit!
Brothers of Oxbridge boats
Stopped their huge power stroke.
Stunned by the swimming twit,
They could not row, no more,
Not the brave eighteen.

Launches to right of them,
Launches to left of them,
Chaos all around them.
Stupid act, never seen,
Played out by daft rebel.
Race had been fought so well,
Now fate has cast a spell.
– Garrett, the umpire, said:
‘Crews – ready in your shell!’
Flag is up, flag is down
Go – all brave eighteen!

Two Blue crews, fearless men
Charging the championship course.
Cox orders: ‘Another ten!’
Oarsmen obey with force.
Pulling hard – not too close…
Oars clashing, dark blade lost,
– Seven rowing heroes!
Finish line not yet crossed:
‘Forward, you strong Blue crews!
Soon your pain will be gone.’
Upon the water of Thames
Rowed the two brave eights.

There it is – Chiswick Bridge!
Oxford’s crew now fading,
Though on course, racing still
Bravely they try spurting.
What a race, what a thrill:
Winning boat is Cambridge!
Arms in air, cries of joy;
Then, here comes Oxford’s crew
Slumped on oars – ‘bow’ is down,
So rows a true Blue!
– Ignore the stupid clown –
Clear is the race review:
Upon the water of Thames
Rowed the two brave eights.

When will their glory fade?
O the wild chase they made.
Their gallant show: pristine…
Honour the row they made!
Honour the whole Brigade,
Noble, brave eighteen.

The Wyndham Park Oak

The tree had stood in the park
For as long as I could remember
Majestic through summer and spring
Golden in depths of September
On hot summer days in its shade
We sat near the park bowling green
Discussing the latest events
Or maybe a film we had seen
We never had reason to hurry
Our lives had a much slower pace
The world seemed peaceful and friendly
Unlike today’s hectic race
We spent many days of the summer
In the pool close by the tree
Diving, swimming and playing
John Horton, Pete Davies and me
At the end of the day we would gather
By the hedge of the park bowling green
Watching the skills of the bowlers
(Though some of the woods did careen)
Before too long you could find us
Beneath the oak tree once more
Trying to make sense of the bowling
And how they managed to score
As summer gave way to the autumn
The leaves of the oak turned to gold
Then orange and red in the grey light
And winds ushered in winter’s cold
Though shorn of its leaves, the big oak
Looked sturdy and strong in the snow
Determined to last out the winter
And prepare for spring-time’s new show
So once again a new summer
The oak resplendent and new
Providing cool shade for the townsfolk
And memories for me and for you
Don Holmes
(Written about the oak tree that stood in Wyndham Park Grantham 0


As I watched the sapling growing into a mighty tree,
I was drawn to reflect on our country’s history,
Its forbears had provided the wood to build our “Men of War”,
Which had done so much in the defence of our shore.
The “Men of War” sailed out to meet the foe,
To the roars of the crowds gathered on Plymouth Ho,
They sailed out into the Channel knowing they would meet,
The Armada which was the pride of the Spanish Fleet.
Francis Drake their Commander was a man who knew no fear,
And his men were not afraid, knowing that he was near,
Their confidence in him was justified that day,
Most of the Armada was destroyed and the rest turned and sailed away.
Nelson and Frobisher were the names of two more,
Who served our country gallantly in the time of war,
Hearts of Oak had the ships in which they sailed,
Hearts of Oak had their men who prevailed.
For hundreds of years wooden ships sailed the seas,
Driven across the oceans by the prevailing breeze,
To discover lands which had lain unknown,
To find treasures that they could claim for their own.
They brought back fruit and vegetables that no one had every seen,
As trophies from the lands where they had been,
They are part of the good we still enjoy today,
Without any thought of those who risked their lives as they sailed away.
Drake and Raleigh were the heroes of their day,
They were prepared to lead their men into the fray,
Many of the crews did not even know their destination,
But they were prepared to risk their lives for the honour of our nation.
The ships of oak had men with hearts of oak,
As I watched that tree growing in my mind it did provoke,
Thoughts of the men who had created our history,
And whose deeds should live forever in our memory.
Ron Martin
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