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News > News > ON David Basford's Love of Poetry

ON David Basford's Love of Poetry

We've loved catching up with ON David Basford to hear about his love of poetry and to share the winning entry of this year's Basford Poetry Competition.
23 May 2022
Written by Caroline Cheal
ON David Basford, Class of 1952
ON David Basford, Class of 1952

Many of our ONs will remember the Basford Cup, which is awarded every year to the winner of the school's Basford Poetry Competition.

We were thrilled to be able to catch up with its founder, ON David Basford - to hear about his love of poetry and to share this year's winning entry with him. David has kindly shared the following with us:

"I first got interested in poetry when at Adams between 1945 and 1952. We had to learn poems such as 'The Highwayman' and 'How they brought the good news from Ghent to Aix'. I remember writing a parody on the Highwayman which featured our House Master and Physics Master, John Sheldon, which appeared in a copy of The Novaportan magazine.

"To me, poetry is instrumental in helping with vocabulary and memorising. I began writing when I was a member of a motorcycle club, where I did a poem for the monthly magazine, and subsequently when I began going to classic car shows where I still write poems for the annual programmes. Some of my work was broadcast on 'Wake up to Wogan' on Radio 2.  I was 'Poet in residence' for18 months for a monthly magazine called 'Country and Border Life'. When my appointment ended, my successor wrote in blank verse which I have never liked and can't do. I can only write in verse, which probably comes from learning nursery rhymes as a child! I think that learning poetry at school stands pupils in good stead, as is my case, in later life. I was very fortunate to have been educated at Adams which was my reason for offering the Basford Poetry Cup, as a small way of giving something back to this fine school."

We'd also like to share below one of David's recent poems, written for one of his annual car show programmes, and to thank him for encouraging a continued love of poetry at Adams through the Basford Poetry Competition. This year's winning entry is also provided below.

Audlem Festival of Transport in 2019 by David Basford, Class of 1952

Celebrating twenty years
My,how the time has passed.
Did the original committee
Think that their idea would last?

But last it has, and it has grown
much bigger year on year.
And to all of us regulars
It's an event that we hold dear.

Unfortunately, last year it rained
but the fans were not deterred,
and everyone enjoyed the show
from the chatter that I heard.

There was something there for everyone,
Cars and trucks and bikes,
Food stalls and entertainment
Something to everyone's likes.

And to the Sponsers who support us
we all should give a cheer.
for ,thanks to their generosity
We'll all be back next year


Basford Poetry Competition Winner 2022

'Ruminations On The Mystery Of Life' by Archie Rix (Upper Sixth)



The meaning of life. 

It is something that many men, good men, old
Men, young men, wise men, all searching in
Favour of their very existence, have tried to
Discover. But life can look like many things, it
Seems. If life is love then it is unbearable, it
Hurts and tears but can sustain. It can rise
From the depths of Hell and drag you below
Or ascend you to Heaven. But love is thus
Distraught. It is purely human. Do other beasts
Claim to feel as we can? Then no, life is not
Love. What of the spirit? If life is spirit then it
Can be tainted, it can be changed and
Adapted by unseen forces and darkness and
Anger and hate. But it can also grow and
Thrive like leaves under sunlight, warm and
Golden and glowing. Spirit makes us human,
Does it not? Is that not how the old adage
Goes? No? Yet life exists in other forms
Than our own. Are we not just one part of
A wide and wondrous world? One small part?
Then nay, life is naught spirit. Could
Life, thus, be light? They sound similar, do
They not? Light can blossom and grow and
Bloom. It can brings others to fruition and
Aid those in their darkest days. But light is
Short lived, it fades, it ebbs away. It dies a
Dozen deaths before resurrection once more.
So light, as it must be concluded, cannot be
The truth behind life, behind all lives.


I have to say, sadly, that no passion brings me
To uncover the meaning of life, which
Leaves me thus in a situation unbecoming of
Myself. I have been trapped. Trapped by the
Vastness of the universe and all that lies
Within it. Life is not love, it is not spirit, light
Does not illuminate the knowledge unto me.
What do religions say thus, explaining in
Their own peculiar ways, about life? How the
Deities they chose gave us our existence out
Of the goodness of their hearts? Can life be
Just an impossible cycle, waiting for the one
Reset that gifts you a true enlightenment?
Can truth be found in the smallest of animals
Or the largest of trees? Does it exist in the
World about us, the very essence of existence
Itself? Does it exist then, in those mysterious
Figures in the sky, our Brahmans, our Allahs,
Our Jehovahs, or just in our Gods? Can the
Truth we have always seeked be truly 
Unattainable? Do objects whose permanence
Match our own hold the key? Sitting alone
In silence and solitude I think of this,
I ponder it in health and sickness. And so,
Dear reader, you may hope for an answer,
But what I can give you may not suffice.


What I must come to conclude is thus, that life
Is a flawed entity. We control and command it
Yet it destroys us too. Long have we wished
For the easy way out, but the universe
Does not, will not, work for our time. It
Exists above and beyond us, life cannot be
Approached via mortal words or human
Thought. It conceives every facet beyond
What we are capable of understanding.
But life has beauty. And life has love. Life
Contains our spirit, and light guides us
Through our lives, though it may seem harsh
Amongst all our darkness. Life is our deaths
And our pre-deaths and our post-mortems. Life
Shall continue long after we cannot, lingering
In peace and tranquillity even as the world
Tears itself apart. Life does not bend to the
Ways of man, nor can it be tamed like some
Wild beast. Life grows, life lives and breathes,
Yet unlike any manner of creature upon this Earth.
There is a saying, one which
I am sure any of you will know, about how life
Finds a way. Life will always find its way.
This is what I think, or perhaps what I hope.
No matter. Well, friend, I have come to
My own conclusions.
What do you think?


Archie Rix - Basford Poetry Competition Winner 2022

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