“INSIDE OF ME”
There is a left side, a right side,
A front and a back,
A top, a bottom and an outside too,
But where o’ where is the inside of me.
Deep it lies ‘neath all the years.
Of, you mustn’t, you can’t, the do’s the don’ts,
The wills and the wonts.
Oh! to be able to sing like a lark in the sky,
To capture a sunset and place it on canvas
To pleasure my eye.
To be free as a bird flying on high,
Staying only where fancy takes me.
To dance with the daffodils in the warm summer breeze.
And swim with the fish in the cool, tinkling streams.
All this is there just waiting to rise.
There will it hide till I find the key, to unlock the door.
Which will set free a piece of the inside of me.
“WHEN I WAS A GIRL”
I remember Eckington when I was a girl,
Had street we could play in and lanes that did turn.
Into nooks and crannies, there for our pleasures,
T’was ‘Fairyland’ full of simple treasures.
Jennell’s to run up, back alleys to explore,
Fields to play in – could we ask more?
Our way to school was full of treasure trails –
Sweet shop windows beckoned we moved as snails.
Hay-cocks to jump in, short cuts to take –
Running now, lest for school we are late.
There obedience we learned – make no mistake.
Our hands were caned – this we did hate.
Back lane, Berry lane where we built dens
And happily, played, till by a call it ends.
We have chores to do, the voice? – our mothers!
We must take charge of our baby brothers.
The tin Mission where we knelt to pray,
Looking forward to Whitsun Day,
Our best we donned, to walk the streets
Singing like larks to the Prize Band’s beat.
May Day parades Carnival Queens,
Empire Days when flags were unfurled.
Music and singing, how gay it did seem,
All this and more – When I was a girl.
It comes out late, goes too soon – winter sunlight.
Slowly appearing, at times like a ghost,
Becoming lost, just when we need it most,
Promising to come another day – winter sunlight.
After the rains, the winds, the snows,
It dazzles our eyes, warms our noses.
A joy to behold, pretty pictures it exposes.
Settling on hamlets it sets them aglow.
A walk in the park, in the snow, all white.
The crunch of our footsteps, the call of a bird,
The sound of our breathing – that’s all to be heard.
A robin appears to set the scene – for winter sunlight.
It melts the snow revealing snowdrops, heads bowed low
Ready to dance at springs request. It urges the tits
Those friendly birds, to fee on nuts in cages below,
And warns our hearts to a whisper of spring.
We cannot complain to the North’s bitter wind,
Coughing and groping in fog which do’th cling,
O groan, when days are so short in light,
For we have hope and can look ahead –
from Winter Sunlight.
“A VOW FULLFILLED”
On Cupid’s dart I come to thee,
Baring my heart for all to see.
Give me my answer – “Oh what will it be?”
Have pity, do not turn from me.
When first I beheld you an angel you looked,
Dark of hair, rosy cheeked and eyes of blue.
From that instant – as a fish – I was hooked.
You set my heart pounding. Could this be true?
With dainty steps you came to me, gave me your hand.
I was proud as ever could be to walk on the beach.
To build with you fairy castles in the sand.
“IF ONLY I COULD SPEAK” by Edith Brunt
Here I stand majestic, strong and sturdy,
In the same place for years my vigil I keep.
I feel the warm touch of spring – she is early!
All winter long I’ve waited, he gentle touch to greet.
She will play amongst my branches.
Kissing my buds awake from their sleep.
I promise the bluebells peeping below,
that I will supply.
A delicate green canopy, their trumpets to shade.
I feel the warmth of the sun, hear the lark on high,
Whilst spreading my branches way up to the sky.
I greet my neighbours – the Elm, the Ash,
Telling them the news – ‘Spring is back’.
Birds chirp and sing in my hair all day long,
One never, never tires of their sweet song.
Slowly Spring departs so softly – I never feel
Summers coming – till small boys climb, the
eggs to steal.
The days are sunny, the nights are warm,
Lovers twine below me – they mean me no harm.
A stab of pain – ‘Oh, what can it be?”
They’re carving love knots – it’s only a tree!
“Only a tree! Believe you me – I have feelings
As you and she, I have one enemy – tell me if you can
Who it is? I will say – Man!”
Oh! how we did laugh at the sea-gulls screech.
Now I claim a promise given years gone before
And sealed with a kiss on that sandy shore.
From endearments spoken then, our lives will entwine,
This was a vow made – when you were six, and I was nine.
I hear many voices from a distant past.
They greet me warmly – s spell to cast.
I feel their touch, it sets me aglow:
Misty shadow form and slowly grow.
It’s pleasant to recall happy carefree time
Of walks in the parks, under the limes.
Of friends so true, now so far away,
Remembered yet ….. When we were at play.
The mists of time do not diffuse
Reflections of loved one, in gentle hues
Reaching towards us our thoughts to please,
At the days end when where are at ease.
I praise my “Maker” for that precious gift,
Without which my spirit would ne’er lift.
I now see clearly down past years
And I will remember – without the tears.
Life is like a jigsaw puzzle.
When we are born the pieces are in a pile,
Waiting to be joined together piece by piece.
Slowly at first – in our childhood years,
The straight edged ones with our parents
Guidance fit neatly into place.
Then we start struggling with the shapes
which have very sharp points.
They don’t seem to fit anywhere.
Somehow, we manager to tuck them away in corners,
along with our hopes and fears.
Looking at the space to be filled,
We wonder what it will eventually show.
In our twenties to the thirties the colourful pieces
Placed more quickly now, begin to contract
With the peaceful blue of the border.
But we still cannot see what the picture will be.
In our middle years, a little slower now,
We fit the pieces one by one
Stopping and thinking, how long ago it seems
This puzzle we began. Very slowly now.
In our later years, we fit the final centre pieces,
Remembering happy times as we gently
smooth each precious fragment into place.
The time has come to fit the last part in its rightful place,
and we gaze with wonder at the picture we have created.
“The Tapestry of Life” – What a wonderful scene!
“WHY SO BLUE”
Why do we say we feel blue?
It would be just as true to feel
Pink, or puce when I think of you.
I wonder what colour you would choose?
Green …. Or Brown?, when you think of me.
Black would be dark, white lovely and light.
My image you could see. Do not flee
From your thoughts – keep them in sight.
Do you feel grey or maybe yellow?
Perhaps orange, or purple, or even red?
Oh, please tell me the shade you would choose,
E’et you lose your thoughts, and magic fled.
It does not have to be blue as the sky.
If we will our minds to think it’s true,
We shall willingly conform with the rest,
And so, will confess … Yes… We do feel blue.
“ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING”
The minutes of the fast meeting read
Silence falls, “Any questions please?”
Eyes search for whom to sow,
The seed of discontent, or action seize.
Words flow, slowly at first,
Fingers wave and tempers fray.
Fire and brimstone! What a thirst!
A little longer I must stay.
Cheeks, in temper red. Eyes flash,
A face indignant? Injustice done!
Seating now, tongues begin to lash.
Already, I wish I had not come.
An explanation! Shhh! The voices die away,
Understanding dawns, Who can blame?
Eyes ashamed, leave the fray,
Contented now and glad I came.
“1926 AND 1985”
Don’t go down the mine, Dad.
Where some of them have gone.
Hang on a little longer, Dad,
Don’t let them think they’ve won.
I know it’s hard to feed us, Dad
But we’ve hung on ….. so long.
It can’t go on much longer, Dad
Much better times must come.
We’ve tightened our belts
And braved the cold.
We’ve taken the insults,
We’ve been strong and bold.
Don’t go down the mine, Dad
Don’t don your pit crown,
For you know very well, Dad
It may be the last one you go down.
I miss the smells of Mosbro’ I mean no disrespect
I’m speaking of the years before the coming of the Jet.
Floating in the air, titillating aromas I often did meet,
Whilst taking a stroll through the village street.
The earthy smells of “Walkers Farm”,
To breathe them in did me no harm.
The whiff of hops as I passed the “Dragon”.
Did not tempt me in for a flag on.
The woody, tangy perfume from the joiner’s shop,
With the scent of pine overriding the lot.
The acrid smell of burning horses’ hooves,
The Blacksmith was working their feet to improve.
The sweet scent of hay being cut on the “Brow”.
There is no smell like this in our village now.
The apple scent in the orchard, by the side of the Church.
Gave my nostrils such pleasure, it really hurt
To pass by and wander to the baker’s shop.
Purchases made I wandered on, the smell of beeswax,
Heel ball and leather from the show-mender
Brought back memories of reins and riding tack,
This is the aroma I loved to savour.
In the sweetshop, the goodies in open boxes and tins.
The mixed aroma of liquorice, aniseed and mint.
Marry-me-quick, Cough Candy and humbugs.
All blended together —- a delicious whiff.
“WE ‘AD TER RUN”
‘Wi’ ‘adm’t many toys w’en uri wer kids,
Wi ‘and much time ter play
Wi ‘ad ter graft an’ run ter shops,
Wi wer kep’ busy most a day.
Wi chop’t sticks, fetch’t in coal,
Fed chicks cleaned aa’rt pigs,
Wi darn’t cheek back, wi grumbled tho’
Wi ‘ad ter do as wi wer’ tow’d
Wi stuffed ah’ faces wi’ bread an’ jam.
Wi flew like wind w’en wi wer’ free,
Scuffin’ ah’ boo’its on’t cobblet yard,
Wi did a wa’ah chant o’glee.
Wi played an’ scrapped in gangs,
Wi tormented cats, kicked tin can.
Wi scrump’t apples, did ‘an stan’s
Ripped ah’ britches, muck’t ah’ ‘an’s.
Skimm’t stones across ta’ watter,
Fe’ed do’ut ‘nobs in a row.
Did’t bull ro’ur, wi ‘ad ter scatter
As fast as ‘ah two legs w’ud go.
Wi flicked fag cards an’ swapp’t ‘em,
Played wi’ marbles, an’ whip an’ top.
Climbed trees, nicked thee eggs,
Went catchin’ minners an’ go copp’t
Tuck a barrer ‘an’ a shovel,
Follered thee ‘orses up ‘ah street.
Tuppence a load w’en it we’r full,
Then of’t shop for a treet.
Wi’ we’r’ ‘appy, wi wer’ gay,
Wi wer’ busy an’ carefree.
Wi ad’ fresh air, wi wer’ scruffy.
Rivals at dawn, mates attend o’ day
Wi chased lasses, pulled their ‘rair,
Pinched their dolls, run off wi ‘em.
If ah Mans sharted us, wi did’na’ care.
Twas awl in fun, but wi ‘ad ter run.
“THE MOSS” by EDITH BRUNT
We travel far and wide across the countryside,
Strolling thro’ historic villages and quiet country parks.
Wander by rivers fast flowing and wide
And yet I will say – the river Moss is my pride.
It meanders down from Birley Hay –
A pretty place, where black swans glide –
Thro’ Ridgeway to fond it wanders its way,
Gurgling and dancing through shadow and light.
Then on over the “Lion” such a gentle fall,
And winding past the “Monkey” where children play.
Dancing and splashing to the blackbird’s call,
Twisting and turning till the white bridge bids it stay.
Slowly testing, for all to lean and gaze,
At bull fish and minnows in still waters below.
Stretching steeply, warm in the hot suns haze,
Then shaking itself for the journey to follow.
Gliding thro’ trees where once was lake,
Greeting celandine, crowfoot and marsh marigold.
Leaves from the trees floating like boats
Lingering and hovering the fall it must take.
Roaring and grumbling straight into the drop.
Frothing, tumbling, trembling, a lot.
Then quietly wending its way.
Through Bluebell Wood, where rabbits do play.
Shouting to the wooden bridge, high above.
‘Nay I can’t stay, I would if ‘I could!’
On thro’ the meadows thick with milkmaids,
Buttercups and daisies a carpet have laid.
Under the bridge in Lovers Walk,
Chuckling out softly at secrets heard.
Gaining speed now approaching the Mill,
Where in years past it worked so hard.
Gurgling yet towards the church steps,
Thro’ rushes and wild garlic growing below,
Lazily watching cows chewing their cud.
Nothing can stay it as it smoothly flows.
Not even the road, under which it hides
To appear again on the other side.
By Pipworth Lane towards the meadows,
Leaving a trail for us to follow
E’et it’s swallowed up by the “River Rother”.
There is a first time for breathing
And a first time for crying.
There is a first time for coo-ing
And a first time for doing.
There is a first time for kissing
And a first time for smacking.
There is a first time for blessing
And a first time for guessing.
There is a first time for loving
And a first time for grieving.
There is a first time for Sharing
And a first time for caring.
There is a first time for playing
And a first time for working.
There is a first time for straying
And a first time for staying.
There is a first time for everything
Be it good, or be it bad
So do your best, keep striving
For these first times, we should all be glad.
When I was a girl, Christmas for me
Was welcomed as a season of jollity,
Mistletoe holly, candles and fruit.
But best of all …. Santa in his red suit.
Bring us gifts, Oh! we were surprised
At treasures which astounded our eyes.
Rag dolls, balls, painting books, sweets and fruit.
New pennies, for our brothers, football boots.
A dinner of turkey Xmas pudding and mince pies
Filled us completely, then to the pond for a slide
Snowballs flying, snowmen growing
All the while our cheeks a glowing.
Then home for tea, our eyes shining bright.
All the feast before us, glowing in candlelight.
Pork pie, pickles, sauces and ham.
Trifles, cakes and a ginger bread man.
Games and carols before the fire,
All happy together …. We never tired
Of singing, laughing, loving and living.
On this once a year day of special giving.
Thanks to Derek Brunt for allowing me to publish these poems. Linda Taylor (nee Staton)