Poem: Observations from a bench in Wandle Park

By - Tuesday 28th April, 2015

Since moving to Croydon from Woking some months ago, Charles B. Wordsmith has been blogging his experiences and observations about his new home. Here he seeks to capture an afternoon on a bench alongside the re-surfaced Wandle river

Observations from a bench in Wandle Park


Small, dainty, pretty seagulls swim

Around the pond in Wandle Park,

Like toy model boats with bobbing bottoms,

And, although obviously engaged

In a continuous and serious quest for food,

I still find it difficult

To take them seriously.


The workmen in their white helmets

Have left a nearby bench,

And been replaced by a Chinese couple

Also engaged in bird watching.

A male and female duck walk out of the pond near my feet,

The female purposefully browsing under last year’s dead leaves,

The male, looking dignified, appears to be standing guard for his mate,

His emerald neck and head feathers

Glistening in the early spring sunshine.


A single crow walks along a low concrete wall,

Then jumps down to look for food

At the muddy edge of the pond.

I get out my binoculars to check out the colour of its eyes,

But before I can be sure

The inconsiderate bird takes wing.


On the path on the other side of the pond,

A couple walk with pram and dog.

I finish my lunch and decide

That I’ll return soon

For more exciting birdwatching

At the pond in Wandle Park.

Charles B. Wordsmith

Charles B. Wordsmith

A newcomer to Croydon, currently trying to publish a book and find gainful employment within the Croydonian urban jungle.

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  • Rosie E

    Love this! Don’t know whether you’ve also noticed the pair of Egyptian Geese which seem to have taken up residence. Presumably you’ve discovered the waterfowl-tastic Waddon Ponds (though on a bench there you might feel obliged to incorporate a line about floating slices of uneaten bread thrown by over-zealous toddlers).

  • http://www.thegreenstoryteller.com Charles Barber

    Thanks Rosie, no I didn’t see the pair of Egyptian geese but did spot a solitary one on a pond at Mitcham Common. Have not seen them before this year but now seeing them all the time. My mum, who lives in a fairly posh retirement estate in Surrey spotted them first, and I wrote the following poem for her. She hoped that they were rare, which they’re clearly not, but I still like to think they add a touch of class to whatever scene they appear in. Alas the poem’s not currently online so I’ll just have to post it below. Haven’t yet discovered Waddon Ponds but will endeavour to do so.

    The Visiting Aristocrats

    The Egyptian Geese have come to the Fairlawn Estate;
    They know here they’ll not be shot and put on a plate.
    They parade round the grounds like the Duke and Duchess
    With such fine feathered costumes. Such glamorous dress
    Has never before been seen at Fairlawn.
    To have such perfect features, you just have to be born.

    The ducks pay no heed to these aristocrats
    And get on with their lives, continue their spats.
    The geese look on with amused disdain,
    For such petty squabbling is hard to explain.
    They leave such lesser birds to their soap-opera lives,
    In which they dine on pondweed, while the geese dine on
    And other fine herbs that they might find
    In the finest of gardens at suitable times.

    They don’t worry or rush, for they know they’re the elite,
    With beautiful plumage and the prettiest feet;
    Their pink stockinged legs take them down to the pond,
    But of cold English water they’re not terribly fond,
    But in the pond’s mirror, they can see their reflection,
    The perfect exemplars of natural selection.