Sunday 5 November 2023




The last leaves on the Linden tree

Cling on tenaciously, like me.

Hanging on when most are gone,

Fluttering upon abandoned boughs

Where no companions dance

As once they did in summer’s breeze.

And as I’ve watched the leaves depart,

My heart’s reminded of the pain

Caused by the loss of those I’ve loved,

And whom I shall not see again.


© James Rainsford

November 2023


Friday 4 August 2023



A Wedding Sonnet


‘What You Both Shall Know of Love’


What you both shall know of love,

Will not rest upon the romance of the hour.

Nor shall its depth be measured

By passion’s urgent need to gratify desire.

Love’s fire can only be sustained

When its dying flames are ever fed anew

With the true devotion of a loving heart

And close attention to affection’s needs.

For weeds will flourish in unattended ground,

But fondness grows where flowers bloom.

Make room for tenderness in all you do

And throughout life make constancy your aim.

So time’s capricious and corrosive sway,

Shall never break the vows you pledged today.



© James Rainsford July 2023



Saturday 10 September 2022


On the Death of Queen Elizabeth II
8th September 2022

It seemed an ordinary day,
Unremarkable in every way.
And yet, before its close
Lives, loyalties and loss
Would move us to recall
What faithfulness resided in
A monarch’s fealty to her realm.
Her hand upon the helm of state
Ever steady, ever great.
Her duty done without complaint,
Her love of nation unsurpassed,
Her pledge of service to the last.
Her life forever, shall remain,
A tribute to her glorious reign.

James Rainsford, 10th September 2022

Friday 22 January 2021

Lockdown Lament 

A Sonnet for the Young 

When shall young lovers kiss again
Free from the dread their sweet embrace 
Will leave a trace of Covid on their lips? 
When will they know their mingled breath 
Does not contain the pathogens of pain, 
Rewarding passion with a kiss-of-death? 
What shall become of youthful needs 
To trace the sensual contours of desire 
With fingers unprotected from the feel 
Of flesh made toxic by the heat of fever’s touch? 
How much of love’s beginnings perish here 
Where adolescent dreams must be denied? 
No memories created of a love devoid of fear, 
No moments to recall when death draws near. 

Copyright: James Rainsford 2020

Here is a sonnet written for our times. It attempts to explore the tragedy for the young denied intimacy by the cruelty of  Covid 19.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

The Corona Moaner

I have not clapped for carers,
Nor banged a saucepan with a spoon,
I’ve not dressed in forties clothing
To perform a war-time tune,
I’ve not confused our nurses
With angels from above,
Nor walked a garden marathon
To demonstrate my love,
I’ve not delivered food parcels
To those in desperate straits,
Neither have I gone on-line
To share my victimhood with mates,
I’ve never joined a virtual queue
To obtain my medication,
Nor shown enormous gratitude
For the efforts of the nation,
I haven’t posted videos
Of my exercise routine,
Nor been confused by all the rules
And what they all may mean,
I’ve not busted out of lockdown
To prove my tough credentials,
Nor have I hoarded toilet rolls
Or other specified essentials,
I’ve not sought out celebrities
Performing ditties from their bed,
Demonstrating their desire
To prove they are not dead,
I’ve not enjoyed the spectacle
Of dim journos seeking fame,
By asking stupid questions
Designed to allocate some blame.

Yet, even though no noble deeds
Have marked my passage though the gloom,
I’ve been sustained by spring’s desire
To wake, grow, bud and bloom,
Proving time's indifference to all our current strife,
Yet, giving us good reason to love and value life.

Copyright: James Rainsford, May 2020

Wednesday 15 October 2014

A Sonnet to Sanity

 This season of the rout of reason
Ripens the toxic fruits of faith,
 Infecting guileless children with a love of death.
 Blood stains the hands of zealots
And prompts the lips of leaders to deny the truth 
As they try to dissipate our fears with lies.
What are the hopes, of those who value death? 
Where are their smiles?
Where their laughter, or their joy
To soften the embrace
Of death’s cold love for all our brief imaginings?
 If tolerance of bad ideas infects the mind
 The winding-sheet of death becomes assured,
And all our dreams of life shall be as dust.

©James Rainsford 2014

Note to readers: Your views are welcome please use the comments tab below. Thanks for your visit.

Wednesday 5 March 2014


There’s only now.
There’s only ever, now.

Lines can linger long upon
The printed page,
Where rage exhausts itself,
Transmitting thought
Down centuries of change
Promising a life remembered
Or, a future,
Where we transcend time.

Tempting us to live a half-imagined past,
Or dwell among uncertain dreams
Of futures filled with desperate hope.

The truth is:
Now is where we live.
There is only now.
There is only ever, now.
Now is all that ever was,
All that is,
And all which shall become.

© James Rainsford 

Note to readers: This poem was inspired by the words of Sam Harris. I've posted a link below for those who'd like to experience Sam's thoughts for themselves. I feel privileged to be alive to experience his intellectual honesty and liberating insights. I hope you too will find his views inspirational.

Click this link to hear Sam Harris reading 'NOW'

Wednesday 1 January 2014

New Year

A Sonnet for 2014 

New hour, new day, New Year.
Dawning to the howl of wind.
Waking to the wails and tales
Of the newly dispossessed.
Arriving where religion rules,
Where fundamental fools
Decorate strange streets
With victim’s severed limbs.
Flicking switches to extinguish
Lives much worthier than theirs.
So, welcome to the coming year
Where fear will stifle truth
And youthful eyes, still full of ‘whys’
Continue to cry tears of blood.

© James Rainsford 2014

Note to readers: A very sombre poem to mark the New Year, but I couldn't help reflecting that amid all the celebratory fireworks the world was also witness to other types of pyrotechnics.  Please click on the comments tab below if you'd like to express a view.

I do wish peace and a truly happy and prosperous New Year to all who visit here.

Tuesday 1 October 2013


Freedom’s such a fragile gift,
Bought dearly with copious blood
Of guileless youth, too young by far
To fully comprehend
The irredeemable finality of death.

It’s tragic when we know so much,
Can access with an on-screen touch
The truth of how we came to be
Yet, neither you, nor me, or anybody else,
Knows how to counter the insanity
Of the fundamental wish to subjugate us all.

How may we strive to win
This crazy contest for control?
Born from religion’s dread desire
To dominate the world.
How shall we reasonably explain
To our betrayed and unborn young
Our failure to confront this
Life denying vision of a world
Controlled by bigotry and fear?

How might we one day, finally persuade
Those who love death, to cast aside their
Terrifying certainty of faith,
And finally, embrace the freedom
Which can only come from doubt?

©James Rainsford 2011

Note to readers: This was written in response to the terrible atrocities committed due to the deluded and insane belief of some, that they know the mind of God.
Your views are very welcome and I'll try to respond to all who leave a comment. Please click on the comments tab below to have your say. Peace to all who visit here. James.

Tuesday 27 August 2013


Without work, weeks wobble.
Leisure leaks from weekends
Infecting weekdays
With the laziness
Of Sunday’s soporific hours.
So, when you ask
“What day is it today?”
I struggle to recall.
For I,
Like you,
Have forgotten too
The shape of days,
The contour of the hour,
The power of Friday to excite
And the dread
Of Monday’s
Siren call to work.
Days become as one,
No tasks to give them form,
And each one born anew.
With absolutely nothing,
We must absolutely do.

© James Rainsford 2013

Note to readers: Your views are always welcome. I'll respond to all who visit here and leave a comment. 
Kind regards to all, James.

Monday 19 August 2013

The Grim Reaper

 If you must come, as come you must,

Don’t come in winter and awake

The fat cat dozing by the fire.

And don’t appear in fertile spring

When birds begin to sing of love

Above new shoots of verdant grass.

Summer’s not the time to call

And is the least good time of all,

When nights are light, and loved ones

Bright with hope, can’t cope with death.

Autumn might just be OK,

Unless I’m feeling fine and well

Then it would be capricious

And suspicious if you call

When all of life’s still full of fun.

So, when all is said, and all is done,

Perhaps it’s best you do not come,

At least for many seasons still,

Until my will to live is spent

And I can welcome you with song.

© James Rainsford 2013

Note to readers: As age increases, so too,  do thoughts of my own mortality.  
Your views are always welcome and I'll respond to all who vist here and leave a comment. Kind regards, James.