Autumn Gold

Long Eaton ParkRun 7 October

Autumn Gold

As golden leaves begin to slowly fall,

the runners stretch and bend,

With thoughts of sizzling bacon cobs awaiting at the end.

In lurid technicolor the people come to run

Excited chatter fills the air in the bright October sun

Elites are bouncing, anticipating, the reward from all their training

Whilst hounds are yelping, happily; leashes all a’straining

Muscles tense as runners wait,

their fingers poised on Garmin

Mums encourage one another,

while babies are alarming

Clock strikes 9 and off they go,

a blur of Lycra neon

I shout aloud amongst the crowd

and cheer the number 3 on

At halfway mark the cowbell clangs inspiring weary faces

Applause and cheers are not reserved, we’re there for all the paces

First across the bridge appears,

exerting power and energy

His focused eyes unwavering,

his driving stride in synergy

Sprinting to the finish line,

he crosses at a canter

Whilst others chase his rapid pace

to cries of friendly banter

Pacers drag a following of eager PB chasers

25 or 45, result brings happy racers

A hiccup in the funnel, runner fails to take a token

Sync is out but never fear, we’ll fix what has been broken

Tail Walkers arrive at last, position 407

Selfies snapped commemorate, they’re all in 7th Heaven

But now the work must really start

To scan, reorder tokens

Upload the stats to state the facts

For the runners who’ve awoken

And braved the chilly morning

To release their own potential

Syncing all the finish times is totally essential

Email tells your time and pace

And urges you to better

Even more determined now

To be a PB getter!

But whether running in a crowd

Or striving on your own

You’ve exceeded the achievements

Of the folks who stayed at home!

The Rhythm of the Race

I run to the rhythm of a 4/4 beat
Its percussion brings a meaning to my ever-pounding feet
Every inch a victory, every mile a stone
Every challenge that I conquer
Is an enemy overthrown

Seeeya ha harrrhah
Seeeya ha harrrhah
Seeeya ha harrrhah
Seeeya ha harrrhah

Navajo staccato rhythm breathed loudly in defiance
My lungs breath deep
The clean fresh air
No longer ventolin reliant

I reach my toes and guide my feet
Through muddy tracks
And cobbled street
With wind in face and sweat on back
I bow my head and plod my track

Each runner set before me
Is a battleground to take
Each landmark I attain
Is a fortress that I stake

And lay my claim
To victory
Over self and doubt and past
And blistered feet and aching bones
And times I wasn’t fast.

But finishing is what we seek
Our eyes like flint on goal
And as we strive to reach that line
The end will make us whole

Every single sinew strains
Your focused eye unwavering
And faster now the heart-drum pounds
As finish line you’re savouring

Hiyaha haw-haw, hiyaha haw-haw
The tribal chieftain cries
Every fibre of your being is straining for that prize.

High lift knees and rapid feet
Emerge with sudden kick
As you relish this – your chosen moment
And take a hungry lick

Of the feast of opportunity that lies now at your feet
Calves and thighs in synergy and faster yet the beat
And poured out like an offering
Is this heady, sweaty potion

To a god of sport and energy
To a demigod of motion.
Your passion etched across your face
You pass them one by one
And take your place in history
As one who came and won.

P J Deakin 2017 ©

Learning to Run

When I was at school I wasn’t particularly good at sport. Enthusiastic, but not good. 

I couldn’t dribble so was last in the queue when picking teams for footy.  I couldn’t catch or throw so cricket was out, and everyone seemed to be faster than me and so with  asthma there seemed little point in running.

The one event I enjoyed doing was the 1500m. I was the slowest, every time but I consoled myself that I had finished and that having two boys who ran for the county in my race was hardly a fair comparison. 

When I was about to leave school I suddenly shot up. I went from 5th shortest lad In the year to among the ten tallest!

I grew legs and discovered that the lads who had beat me up and beaten me in the flat race on sports day since time immemorial were now easy to avoid. These legs had a stride which could outpace most of the lads in my year now.

By the time I discovered this new tool, I had left school and so sports day was just a memory and to me it all seemed like too little, too late.

I wasn’t aware of running clubs and didn’t think there was any point in approaching athletics clubs as I didn’t know how or what they would do.

As an asthmatic I struggled with breathing and so was never able to get far enough to build the stamina for running.

So I avoided sport, generally. But when at College I had an evening job in town, my shift finished 5 minutes after the bus left and so I would have a 20 minute wait for another. I took to racing the bus from Market Street to Victoria Centre as it went round the blocks and picked up the extra passengers.

But then I started to run for fun. I used to run the bus route, with a couple of shortcuts, to see how far I could get before the bus caught up with me. I would regularly reach Sneinton Crossing (halfway home) before the bus caught up with me. Despite this I didn’t get involved in any running events. 

I left college and started work and forgot all about sport. Marriage and children requires dedication and devotion and so once again I forgot about sport.

A sponsored event at work a few years ago came along. A sponsored Santa Fun Run. I trained for it and surprised myself at my renewed stamina.

A previous job working nights at a supermarket had caused me to gain weight in a favourable way and I gained 30 about pounds. In 2 months I had gone from 10 1/2 to 12 1/2 stones (147 pounds to 175 pounds)

No longer a skinny weakling in danger of being blown away by a gust of wind, I now filled my broad frame and my lungs were stronger, asthma no longer an issue.

I started to run 5km regularly 2 to 3 times per week and increased my distance up to 10km to raise money for a trip to work with a children’s charity in India.

After the event I stopped training. The. A year ago a friend I’d made through my drama society encouraged me along to the local ParkRun. I took part and was pleased with the noticeable improvements in my fitness and performance.

Yet again I lost interest a little as Summer’s heat took my breath away. Having moved house in the New Year I determined to persevere with the running and booked myself a place in a Half Marathon in my hometown of Nottingham for September as an inspiration and target to get me out of bed on Saturday morning.

Since then I’ve seen my time splits plummet as I’ve turned up each week, joined the local running club and signed up for an additional half marathon this Sunday, the Ramathon in Derby.

I used to think that sport was something I would never be good at. Some people just had it and some, like me, didn’t. But I have realised that some sports are less about skill and more about practice.

Anyone can run. How often and how far is up to you, but anyone can do it. I’m already looking ahead to next year for my first marathon.  I’m not the fittest person, but I’ve learned that with hard work and determination I can achieve much more than I ever thought possible and so can you!

Choose to Love

On a cold, starry night,
Two young people wander
On a journey, their lives to discover
As a man led his donkey 
To Bethlehem town
Her cargo, a soon-to-be Mother

With pain she’d looked back
As they’d left Nazareth
The hatred they’d shown had surprised her
When the people perceived
That the babe was conceived
Out of wedlock, they’d all ostracised her.

No room could be found 
In King David’s home town

For the couple and their precious burden
As she cried out in pain
One man listened again 
Calling out, 
They both paused as they heard him

“I have here a stable
It’s not much to see
But it’s warm and it’s dry and it’s free!”

Tired from their journey
The young aching Mother 
Lay down in the hay to give birth
Such humble beginnings 
For this newborn child
The King of all kings of the Earth!

Surrounded by livestock
And sacrifice lambs
The unblemished Lamb he was born
In a cow’s feeding trough
He made his first bed
His clothes made of rags that were torn

Shepherds came to visit He
Whom Angels had adored
And silently they worshipped Him, 
The tiny infant Lord

Whilst still a toddler
Wise men came from Persian lands afar
Recounting their incredible tale
A sparkling bright guiding star!

Dictator King, Herod the Great
Explodes with rage and fear
A newborn King to take his throne
Lived in a town so near!?

A massacre, the despot decrees
Consumed so by his hatred
Each boy child of two years or less
Must be exterminated!

Awoken by a warning dream
The father wakes his family
Heads south to Egypt to escape, 
Political refugees.

This humble Jesus, born so low
Our own hearts does unveil…
And reminds us all to love once again
In this familiar Nativity tale.

P J Deakin 2015 ©

Farage Rhymes with Garage 

I feel the time has come for me to publicly disparage
The smug obnoxious Xenophobe Whose surname rhymes with garage

His out and out rejection of immigration, blacks and Hanukkah
Seems to me to be an irony
Given the pronunciation of his moniker!

Farage has rather a Frankish twang
A certain je ne sais quoi!
So how can a man with such obvious French ancestry 
Be so quick to bar?!

I’ve concluded he’s a masochist,
His campaign has left him jobless
He turned up at his office, Friday
And to the lot said “cobblers!”

He’s a man I find so easy to hate
Yet many rally to him
But while the snake may have fooled them
I personally see right through him.

His thin-veiled threats of anarchy 
And Anglo-ruled apartheid
Are not a threat but promises
To whitewash all of England’s past
And make us Dulux White!

But I’m Irish, see. (Well, my grandma was!)
And my name has Norman virtue
And my Grandad’s name’s from Viking times
So where do I return to??!

Do I fly to Cork to find a life
In Ireland’s southernmost town,
Or sail to Normandy or in fact
To Denmark settle down.

There’s no such thing as English
We’re a multicultural nation!
Anglo (French) and Saxon (German) is hardly pure breeding
But these people want to rewrite the books 
Historians will be reading.

Without the Normans
Would an Englishman’s home
His castle still remain?
And without Vikings would we be
The mariners we became?

The Romans built our towns and roads
But what have they ever done for us?!
The Irish built the railway lines 
So you don’t have to take the bus!

The Windies brought us colour
With their music, style and vision
Imagine the long Winter of discontent 
Without the reggae rhythm

The 70’s opened doors to India
And business Pakistani
Well, what would be the lads night out
Without a Biryani?!

As Berlin’s wall was taken down
I wept a tear of triumph
No longer will we leave in fear 
Of those prehistoric giants 

Of xenophobia, greed and envy 
Even South Africa followed suit,
But now arise a generation 
Who gives the lot the boot!

Take a long look at your English lives 
As you dine at Swedish tables 
Watching Japanese TV’s
Drive your German car to work upon 
A hundred foreign labels!

Each wave that came has made this home 
And starting at the bottom 
Has put to shame our lazy lives 
By remembering what we’ve forgotten

Integrity comes from deep within 
From earning honest bread
From working till you are worn out
And collapsing in your bed

No restless sleep for he who works
And earns his daily crust 
But on his efforts he can lean
And on his hands he’ll trust.

The Tories stole your benefits 
They questioned if you’re able
They forced the pound to be so strong 
You struggled to lay your table

But Farage blamed all the immigrants 
Those nasty foreign scum
He said they stole your nationhood
And you believed his lying tongue.

He set the fuse and waited for
The shit to hit the fan,
And now the news,
He’s buggered off!
What a spineless little man!

P J Deakin 2016©

India

On endless rich, deep carpet pile

To endless polished marble mile

Excitedly we stride

Towards a wall

Of glass and steel

Which effortlessly glides

 

Assaulted by the heat and smell

The noise, the fuss, the clamour

The poorest-poor lie unnoticed

Besides the gold and glamour.

 

I taste the air, its fragrance thick

With car exhaust and turmeric

A thousand fossil bonfires

Fill the air and shroud the glow

Of burning incandescent orb,

Translucent orange/yellow

 

The taxi swiftly zips along

The fresh new tarmac highway

With little dwellings here and there

And kids in every byway

 

Holy cow!

The hornéd one

Strolls slowly down the middle

As if she knows she’s deity

And we’re all second fiddle!

 

Incessant drone 

Of blaring horn

From tuk-tuk, car and lorry

Don’t sound in anger

But to say “I’m turning right or overtaking,

I’m really very sorry!”

Permanent the smoky haze

Hangs low like ochre, cigarette days

The cricket wing cacophony 

I cannot get it off of me

The memory of that magic land

That river valley

That henna hand

Is permanently etched upon my very soul

A land so young, so curious

And yet so very old

So wise and yet so much to learn

As dreams take me back 

Still smouldering it burns

Our silver bird punches right through

An arrowhead to skies of blue

And what beholds me 

I’m agog!

A string of pearls 

Beyond the smog!

Just north of this smoky dome-like layer

Lies the entire Himalaya

A chain of snow-capped rocky mounts

These craggy forts the very founts

Of a thousand little tributaries

Which feed this vast expanse

As stream becomes a surging torrent

The mighty rivers all advance 

A mighty warlike tribal drum 

The beating of her steady thrum 

The twisting canyons she has carved 

Tower high above and barely halve

The distance down to where she flows 

Each bend a turn which petrifies 

As down you look into her eyes 

The snarling crocodilian river

So sharp, so fierce it makes you shiver

Yet high on Gangtok’s verdant top

A city stands so tall so bright

A city bursting full of light

In ‘Switzerlandish’ type Tibet

This Alpine paradise is set

The mists which here 

Taste oh so clear 

Are far removed from distant Delhi

Make poinsettia grow to 6 feet high 

And flora blooms a’plenty!

So haunting is this ancient land

Her vibrancy, her laugh, her dance

She penetrates my night visions

And puts me in a trance

I’ll always cherish knowing her

Her song, her joy, her art

Eternally her sun will burn

Within my aching heart.

P J Deakin 2016 ©

Roots

On Sunday my Pastor spoke about the Parable of the Sower.

The seed fell all over, on the path, the rocky soil, in amongst the thorn bushes and on good well-tilled soil.

We know the story, and over-familiarity can mean that we lose the crux of the story. That we forget to look at things afresh.

Dave further explained how the seed that fell on the rocky soil was shallow, and that like shallow people there is no root and so when hard times come they shrivel up and rarely thrive.

The seed which fell among the thorns represents those who are easily distracted by the pleasures of life and so become choked by the pursuit of happiness through a hedonistic, materialistic lifestyle.

As I reflected on this over a coffee after the service, I recalled the number of times my faith has become stunted due to my shallow nature.

Without roots we die.

I’ve also been guilty of pursuing the pleasurable aspects of life, selfishly… often at the expense of those I should be caring for.

Whilst I considered this, I was looking out of the window and I saw this:

  

You may not see it at first but this is a (rather blurry) photo of a small tree stump which we pruned right back about 18 months ago when a team of us did some gardening work in the grounds of our new church building.

Look closer and you will see that a small slender branch has sprung up out out that branch and has soared higher and higher! It has grown at least 7 feet high in only 18 months!!

Why? Because despite the tree being removed, the roots still remain! And while the roots remain there is an irresistible instinct within that tree to grow! Roots will always lead to growth!

At the very top of that tiny slender branch there is a single leaf. New life is budding and bursting forth out of the shell of the old.

As I looked on I realised what God was saying to me, “get yourself rooted in me, then whatever life throws at you, you will always come back stronger!”

I realised that I will not pursue selfish pleasure if I am rooted. I will not seek man’s approval of I am rooted! For myself I pray the words of Paul in Ephesians 3 and trust that you will too…

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:14-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God Bless you!

Phil

Betty

I haven’t shed a tear my dear
I haven’t felt a pain
For in your passing I can see
The birth of hope again

I haven’t stopped to wonder why
Our Lord did take you by and by
And lead you into slumber
There’s a peace in Heaven that awaits
With joy beyond all number!

No more the pain
No more the sorrow
New life awaits
In your tomorrow

New body, yours
Without the aches
Clean slate, yours
Without mistakes

Blotted out is all your pain
And yesterday shall not remain
This glorious morn you rise anew
For Jesus held out His arms for you

P J Deakin 2016©