Elegy for Penny

It isn’t the loss of the shirt from my back,
nor the house that’s levelled and gone.
You couldn’t replace the air that we breath
or the love, ’bout which there’s a song.

But you gave me power and passion and lure;
o’er my sweetest dreams you held sway,
and you took my hand, so confidently
counting my luck for the day.

When I recall the corner shop
and its sweet scented displays,
my senses, filled with memories,
explode in halcyon days.

Back then it was a penny for
a slice of simple joy,
but now, more like a toonie or loan
our pleasure to destroy.

But you gave me power and passion and lure;
o’er my sweetest dreams you held sway,
and you took my hand, so confidently
counting my luck for the day.

Oh how I long for yesterday,
a bittersweet kind of pain,
for springtime days and sugar-lust
coursing through my veins.

But you gave me power and passion and lure;
o’er my sweetest dreams you held sway,
and you took my hand, so confidently
counting my luck for the day.

© 2013 John Anstie

[This poem was prompted by Awna Teixeria in a post on her Facebook page on Tuesday, 5th Feb 2013. It mourns the loss of the Canadian one-cent piece this week.

Awna said: “I will never forget standing in Sam’s, my childhood corner store, with grubby hands full of penny’s slowly counting out my luck for the day. They had the best selection of one cent candies it seemed the world had to offer. For that I will always love and miss you dearly penny. So long old friend….Xo”]

About PoetJanstie

“Life is short and art long, the crisis fleeting, experience penniless and decision difficult” ~ Hippocrates. As a young man, John enjoyed being fit and sporting. It was then as much his recreational therapy as a cappella harmony singing, music, walking in the hills and writing is now. Playing Rugby Union for over twenty years, encouraged in the early days by a school that was run on the same lines as Gordonstoun, giving shape and discipline to a sometimes precarious early life. This fitness was enhanced by working part time jobs in farming, as a leather factory packer and security guard, but probably not helped, for a short time, by selling ice cream! His professional working life was spent as a Metallurgical Engineer, Marketing Manager, Export Sales Manager, Implementation Manager and Managing Director of his own company. Thirty five years spent, apparently in a creative desert, raising a family, pursuing a career and helping to pay the bills, probably enriched his experience, because his renaissance, on retirement, realised a hidden creative talent as a writer of prose and poetry. He also enjoys music, with a piano and a forty-nine year old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He sings bass in three a cappella harmony groups: as a founding member of a mixed voice chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices and a mixed barbershop quartet. He is also a member of one of the top barbershop choruses in the UK, Hallmark of Harmony (the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club), who, for the eighth time in 40 years, became UK Champions in 2019. He is also a would be (once upon a time or 'has been') photographer with drawers full of his own history, and an occasional, but lapsed 'film' maker. In his other life, he doubles as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Family man. What he writes is sometimes autobiographical, often political, sometimes dark and frequently pins his colours to the mast of climate change and how humans are trashing the Earth. In 2013, he published an anthology of the poetry (including his own) of an international group of poets, who met on Twitter in 2011. He produced, edited and steered the product of this work, "Petrichor Rising", to publication by Aquillrelle. His sort of strapline sort of reads: “ iWrite iSing iDance iVolunteer ”
This entry was posted in age, Ballad, children, Money, nostalgia, poem, poetry, sadness. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Elegy for Penny

  1. eden baylee says:

    Sweet, John! I have no sentimental memories of the penny, but it’s kind of sad to see it gone.
    Now I have to figure out what to do with the jar I have filled with it.


  2. Other Mary says:

    This is lovely John, and I like the story that inspired it. It’s great what you did with that line, ‘counting out my luck for the day.’ Is this, or will it be, recorded someplace we can listen to it?


    • PoetJanstie says:

      Thanks, Mary. Yes, I was kind of, perhaps over-optimistically, hoping Ms Teixeira might take an interest, but I fear that may be a forlorn hope, since she is a much in demand act now and tours for 11 months out of every 12. I met her briefly a couple of times in the UK. Nice girl, lots of experience and also is an integral part of another band called Po’girl, with the beautifully soulful voiced Allison Russell.

      So in answer to your question, don’t hold your breath, but maybe sometime 🙂


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