(Above: With his daughter-in-law - in his 93rd year.
Below: With his grandson - in his 93rd year.)
Stanley Hemming-Clark read Latin with French, and Theology, at Cambridge. He was Vicar of a Kent Parish for 38 years, combining this with teaching posts. He now lives near Guildford. Serious publications include two books on Theology and Hymns and Meditations on the Seven Words. Then there are these...
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Since childhood this retired nonagenarian village vicar has written comic verse.
His experiences as a priest,
The New Model of Church Life
Shortage of cash: fewer priests on the ground,
So a new model of church life must be found,
”In this modern world,” the bishops decreed,
”A Manager-Priest groups of parishes need...”
A Christmas Present for Teacher
St Hilda's was a happy school
For those who learnt and those who taught.
Because Miss Roberts was so cool
Each girl a Christmas present brought...
and observer of life
A Slight Mistake
A slight mistake in an email note
Cost poor Robert his life.
When to his friend and neighbour he wrote
”I'm sorry I borrowed your wife...”
are to be found in this wonderful new collection that covers everything from The Trojan War: Its causes and sequel in the Founding of Rome told in limericks, to Dave and The Bullingdon Club, Covid-19, Safeguarding, and Forward to 2099.
Be warned: No subject is off-limits!
Men and Women
Natural and Unnatural World
Training the Young
The Classical World
and various other bits.
Foreword by the Author
"Tenet insanabile multos scribendi cacoethes, et aegro in corde senescit" wrote Juvenal. (The crazy urge to write grips many, and grows old in a sick heart).
I have certainly grown old writing comic verse since I am ninety-three years old and have been doing it for seventy-five years. At school my parody of Chaucer's Prologue, describing some of the staff, annoyed the French master, who thought it was impertinent and maybe aegro corde until the headmaster said that it was very funny. At a college reunion a contemporary remarked, "I only remember two things about you - you could not sing in tune and wrote comic verse." In a recent history of my theological college, amid the great and the good, leading bishops and so on, I get one mention - for writing the lyrics of a comic opera. In thirty-eight years as an incumbent this habit has both amused parishioners and at times defused difficult situations.
Of course, much is of interest only to those particular individuals or events, but those here may amuse a wider group. I offer them as the insanabile products of a senex, but not I hope aegro corde. Others may have different opinions. Some are based on jokes heard, for which I give thanks.
Here's a little taste of what to expect (from Men and Women)
Confessions by (not to) a Vicar
The sign that I am growing old,
I must confess, if truth be told -
When at weddings I officiate
And there with young folk celebrate,
As the Wedding Group I see,
The Bride's Mother seems to me
More attractive than her daughter.
(Which a vicar did not oughter!)
Jacques sat in the train by a window.
The window was open wide.
As the train entered a tunnel,
"Look out!" his neighbour cried.
Jacques' English was very literal:
He mistook the words that were said.
He looked out of the open window
And literally lost his head.
His body lies here underground
But his head was never found.
I hope that you enjoy the book that is available as a download and a paperback.
IT'S A CAT'S LIFE!
This book of humorous verse contains cats' thoughts, misunderstandings, proverbs and comments on human nature. They show an insight into cats' natures - and also into human natures!
Cat lovers will recognise the situations described in what may be the most enjoyable book of cat poems since T S Eliot.
Our Church's dedication!
My folks will go along
To mark this great occasion
With Festal Evensong.
"The Choir are celebrating -
A fine MAGNIFICAT."
I crept inside, sat waiting
To see a fine big cat.
I watched the Choir's keen faces,
Singing with all their might -
Sopranos, Altos, Basses,
But not a cat in sight.
A buxom Soprano seeking
To reach a high B Flat
Made sounds like pussy squeaking -
So that's MAGNIFICAT!
© Stanley Hemming-Clark
IF MEMORY BE TRUTH
Taking its title from the first poem, this book opens with the thought of past experiences remaining in our memories. It passes on to poems, hymns and meditations on various themes. The final verses return to the opening theme, but looking at it from a Christian viewpoint. Some deal with with the problems of bereavement and suffering. Some with Christian doctrine and the spiritual life, the relationship between time and eternity. Some are written to be sung: some for meditation. All have notes added. The first speaks of the changes wrought in ourselves and our surroundings. The last speaks of eternal realities. Several share a common theme – Transfiguration.
They smiled at her, those girls of youthful charms,
Puzzled, amused, a few with gentle scorn,
Secure, possessive on their boyfriends’ arms,
They thought at eighty-three she looked forlorn.
As long as people knew, she’d looked the same –
With small black dog of never changing breed:
When one dog died, the next one took his name.
They thought, though strange, this met some inner need.
Once she had loved like them (How could they know?),
Had dreams of marriage, home, and children shared.
His gift a small black dog (so long ago)
Before he went to war and was not spared.
With boyfriend’s gift, though sixty years had passed,
Twenty at heart, she knew her love would last.
© Stanley Hemming-Clark
This poem expresses the sadness and waste of war. It is based upon a real person, now departed, whose life was known only to a few. The opening lines imagine how others saw her. She had never known marriage and children. The past was still with her, even in outward actions, all through her life.