Tony Earnshaw has spent most of his adult life in the finance sector but his love of both the theatre and poetry is long standing and draws from his childhood experiences and beyond spanning his career, family life and wide variety of interests.

Tony has used his writing skills within his local community for a number of years including writing the Millennium Revue, The Man That Gave The Year Its Number. Tony has been writing poetry for all of his adult life. He has had a number of poems published in magazines and has published three collections. He is a member of the Poetry Society, the British Haiku Society and Mole Valley Poets. In the Spring of 2009 he was runner up in the Birds on The Wire collection competition with a collection which included Wood Pigeons. In 2010, he won a best new writing award for his play 'The Door' and he continues to write for the theatre.

Poems by Tony Earnshaw

Contents
STABLE
The children sang
The skies were blue
Turkana
WORD
IF FOOD BE THE MUSIC OF LOVE
Olives /A human fate.
Pool
Abdullah
Views

STABLE

A place for beasts,
straw and muck more suited for their needs than those of man.
And yet, a stable was the place where God
chose
to unveil his face.
Among the dirt and dung,
air heavy, light poor,
among the beasts, the greatest made himself the least,
the eternal framed himself in time,
with death, disease,
disgrace and crime.
Fettered to a single space, the son of God revealed his face.

C A Earnshaw
2001

The children sang

The children sang, clapped their hands and danced,
Recited passages committed to memory, each with a moral stance
Avoid prostitution, don't take bribes, admonishing finger to the fore
As each child stepped back, another took the floor

Their eyes lit up, their faces beamed, as Navin got them jumping
Cheering now for India, now that was really something
Lined up in their uniforms while we milled around in ours
Less concerned than we were when the sunshine turned to showers

But the thing that really hit us was the beauty of their song
Their hands keeping the rhythm, their voices young and strong
All cyclists had abandoned now the table and the tent
The song finished, the teacher near, I asked him what it meant

The song, he told me, says 'AIDS kills everyone
Rich or poor, old or young, AIDS kill everyone'
A simple truth for Africa, taught through lilting song,
A threat for all these children, AIDS kills everyone

C A Earnshaw
5/11/04

The skies were blue

The skies were blue, the sun shone too,
When Stephen were a lad.
The winters cold, it always snowed,
and skating could be had
on Four Wents Pond,
where every frond and leaf was touched with white
till frozen through and turning blue
you went home for a bite.

The pretty girls would always smile,
when Stephen were a lad,
and made you think you had some style,
which couldn't be all bad.
They filled the room with cheap perfume and took your breath away,
when you put down your toys and found
some other games to play.

Oh we were indestructible,
when Stephen were a lad,
our hopes were incorruptible,
our passions were all mad.
We never hurt, we never cried,
and our memories never lied.
The skies were blue, the sun shone too,
when Stephen were a lad

C A Earnshaw
11.03.04

Turkana

Happy to welcome
donors and visitors,
Turkanas are friendly
and greet us with dance.

And we're strangely humbled,
fish out of water,
happy and grateful
that we have the chance
to visit these people,
to gain some more insight
into the needs
of this arid land.

The answer is water,
drilling for water,
conserving water,
and building stone dams.

We visit the projects
We're moved by the children.
We're moved that the adults
bless us with thanks.

We fly out that evening,
receivers and visitors,
discussing Turkana.
Remembering the dance

C A Earnshaw
1/11/04

WORD

When the word of God came down,
born in a middle eastern town,
and took on flesh
he could not speak
but was a child, poor and weak,
who had to learn what he first created,
so his message could be clearly stated
and, by word and deed,
communicated.
The Word, unable to speak a word.

C A Earnshaw
2000

IF FOOD BE THE MUSIC OF LOVE

Small chardonnay meets large espresso
when the fries are down
Shares ciabatta, rocket salad,
then they hit the town
He goes presto with the pesto
while her rice is steaming
Shares her poulet, then crme brulee;
thinks he must be dreaming.
But it's real and no-ones faking
'cause now they're sharing egg and bacon

Copyright C A Earnshaw
9.2.03

Olives /A human fate.

While others drop into careful nets from grafted branches
to provide oil
accompany drinks
or liven up salads
these,
small, black, round
standing out against white stone
in the dappled shadow of the ancient tree
are destined to be swept aside by the primitive broom

Children of a neglected tree
these will not be pressed
not be nibbled with martini
not be chopped on pizza
or baked in bread
but will be prey to insects
kicked aside by sandaled feet
and returned to the earth.

C A Earnshaw
20.9.07

Pool

We're not the only ones to use this pool
but other visitors are trapped
drowned
fooled by the lights
wings spread on the surface
until the net liberates corpses and survivors alike
the long shadow of its wielder
yielding to bright blue at the blurred edges
while the pole bends straight as it
dips to dredge heavier debris
from the bottom

Job done
human bodies shed
and scatter cotton
before clawing the water
fooled by the sunlight
and expecting heat.

C A Earnshaw
20.9.07

Abdullah

Omar is a fighter,
Arifa is a nurse
And Abdullah?
Abdullah is twelve

Omar is dangerous.
Arifa is a healer
And Abdullah?
Abdullah is twelve

Omar kills hostages
Arifa tends the wounded
And Abdullah?
Abdullah is twelve

Omar's full of hatred
Arifa, full of love
And Abdullah?
Abdullah is twelve

When the Tornado shed its load
Omar the fighter died
Proud and defiant
Arifa the nurse died
One carer less.
And Abdullah.
Abdullah was twelve

C A Earnshaw
30.9.14
Published in the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize anthology 'Poems to Keep'

Views

The man sits at his window.
Outside, the trees shift in the breeze.
Not many leaves left now,
the branches look as bare as his dreams.

The autumn sun picks out the heath
and woodlands on the downs
and highlights the red brick
of the neighbouring houses.

A couple walk down the road,
While from somewhere further away
children can be heard,
let out of school to play.
It must be lunchtime.

Nothing has changed
but everything has.

National newspapers spew hate
and accuse anyone who disagrees of lying.
In Westminster the money machine buys power
and ministers override due process
so the big battalions can attack,
the Vale of Bowland can be fracked
and Leith Hill drilled.

Elsewhere, power is handed to bigots and racists,
Victory goes to the mendacious,
And the victors despoil.

Nothing has changed
but everything has.

The man sits and looks out
searching for hope.
The sunlight glints on a car window,
intermittent, like a signal back,
reminding that the light gets in
wherever there's a crack.

C A Earnshaw
30.11.16
Published in the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize anthology 'Poems to Keep'