Having a way with words

  • Happy with his pen and paper: Lance Crockwell has always enjoyed writing poetry (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

    Happy with his pen and paper: Lance Crockwell has always enjoyed writing poetry (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Lance Crockwell is a compulsive poet.

On the bus, walking through his Sandys neighbourhood or talking to friends, the verses just flow from him his lips.

“I don’t usually plan it or think about it,” the 58-year-old Sandys man said. “People will say you’re pretty good, but that is just me talking.”

He never really saw it as a gift until a neighbour asked for his help in June.

“Her granddaughter was graduating from college,” Mr Crockwell said. “She was doing that Zoom thing. My neighbour asked me if I could come up with a poem to help her celebrate.

“I came and rang a bell like I was the town crier, and out comes the poem.”

He did so well with it that another neighbour, Kent Bascome, asked if Mr Crockwell would write something for Cup Match.

“He was having about 20 guests at his house,” Mr Crockwell said. “I said no problem. I went home and opened up my notepad and then I read the newspaper about Mary Prince Day.”

On the day of the party, his poem was well received.

Mr Bascome said Mr Crockwell has a gift for poetry.

“Everyone at the party was blown away and genuinely impressed with the poem he read to us all,” Mr Bascome said.

And it was an eye-opening moment for Mr Crockwell.

“Kent wanted a copy of the poem,” he said. “I said no problem. Afterward I said to myself, Lance, maybe poetry is your gift. Maybe poetry is what you were meant to do.”

Throughout his life he has struggled to find himself.

“In school I was teased and called nerd and outcast,” he said. “They had to hold me back a year.”

After high school he took part in several bands formed by friends and family including one called Bits and Pieces and another called Sounds of Thunder.

Years ago, he and his younger brother, John, won a competition at Spinning Wheel Nightclub for their song Codfish and Potatoes.

“We used to play at Loyalty Inn,” he said.

Lately, he has been going through some tough times. Last year his mother, Gwendolyn Crockwell, died and in June, his father, Jerome Crockwell, also died.

“I was going through their things and I found that my mother kept a journal,” he said. “I think that must be where I get the poetry thing from. I never realised that before.”

Inspired by his mother, he now carries a notebook everywhere, and writes his words down when he has a moment of inspiration.

Mr Crockwell said writing poetry helps him to stay calm and relaxed.

“Poetry lifts my spirits up very much,” he said. “If someone comes in my space and tries to make it chaotic they can’t do it. I am free now. I am happy every single day. When I wake up God tells me to pray. No man is above the next.”

When the power was out for two days in Sandys, earlier this month, due to a Belco problem, he took up his pen again.

He wrote: “The electric light company didn’t pay their bill. No power in Somerset. I live on Cooks Hill. I am asking them, what’s the deal? Are you fake or are you real? People in your area complaining about soot on your roof. Lots of people complaining they have the proof. Belco please turn the power back on. Be true to the people on this day. Clean up your mess where it is. Belco company don’t get mad at me. Bermuda don’t you all agree?

Many of his poems reflect a spiritual background.

“My parents raised me with the word of God,” he said. “I can remember reading the Bible in primary school.”

Here he characteristically recited a few lines of verse that had suddenly come to him.

My name is Lance I have something to say. God is Good. He is not far away.

He is here. He is there. He is everywhere.

But people have no fear.

His friend Mr Bascome said: “Lance is a kind person and attentive to his neighbours. He always has his ear always to the ground, and he knows what is going on in Somerset, being a son of the soil here.

“Recently, he informed the family that someone we all knew was not well and in the hospital and he was compassionate about the situation. On another occasion he was supportive to a colleague of mine, unbeknown to me at that time and encouraged him through a difficult time.”

Mr Bascome would like to see him put his work into a book of poetry.

But at the moment, working only part-time as a handyman, Mr Crockwell does not have extra funds for book projects.

“I would like to find work,” he said. “If I could find a job, I could fund myself.”

His dream is to see his poetry sent out into the world.

“I am speaking from the heart,” he said. “All in this world, I can’t change you and I can’t change me. We just need to sit down and come to some common ground.”

He would also be open to reciting his work for church groups and organisations.

Lance Crockwell’s Cup Match poem

2020 Cup Match

It’s 2020 Cup Match Whoo!

Listen up people it’s a no, no, no.

Holiday, mark, get set go.

It’s 2020 and it goes like this.

No cricket, being played on Somerset Cricket Club field

Coronavirus that’s the deal.

Has the whole world at a standstill.

But it’s much more than cricket, what you say.

Bermuda it’s our Emancipation Day, Aug 1, 1834.

Renamed it Somers Day, now no more.

Now we call it Mary Prince Day.

Can’t play sports, no sixes or fours.

British Empire, no, no, no slavery no more.

We don’t serve you making us poor.

Time for Bermuda to shut the door.

When you play with our lives, you press your luck.

Rest of the world you better duck.

Bermuda, it’s our Emancipation Day

So, let’s enjoy ourselves, show love along the way.

But most of all remember it’s Mary Prince Day.

Lance Crockwell can be reached by calling 234-0017

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Published Aug 25, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 25, 2020 at 8:09 am)

Having a way with words

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