Thursday, 13 November 2014

Stroud

A poem about the unique place where I grew up...


Searching they came 
Tramping the hills
Roaming the valleys 
Observing it all
Utterly transfixed in
Delight and wonder

Stoping to gaze
The travellers see
Round-about and Ecotricity
Obscurity and eccentricity 
Unusual may be
Dull it is not

Seeking the country
Tractors and Wellies
Roaring log fires
Overeaten bellies 
Unseen big cats
Dandelion meadows

Standing in awe
Tasting the beer
Rugby and football
Oh we have it all 'ere
Unique mills and
Derelict mansions 

Surveying the cows
The ice-cream factory
Rambling footpaths
Over common land
Untold history and
Delights to be found

This is the place that we call STROUD.

©revdjo 13/11/14

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Dawn chorus cries


Dawn chorus cries,
'Wake up!'
a new day beckons
full of surprise
of untold mysteries
yet to unfold
the light breaks through
a vision to behold
of love and beauty
truth and joy
waiting,
unraveling, 
moment by moment
time unwinds. 

©revdjo 19/10/14









Friday, 10 October 2014

I hear the sound of footsteps

  

I hear the sound of footsteps
echo far and near
as people search in anguish
lives lived out in fear.

Round and round in circles
over hill and dale
they wander through the countryside
and through the market square.

Aimlessly they travel
shoes worn out by tread
weighed down by their own burdens
some completely off their head.

Minds restless from life's worries
bodies tired out from pain
they look like they're contented
but heads bow down in shame.

©revdjo 3/10/14 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

My Old Friend, Laughter


Laughter
I remember her
somewhere inside 
in the corner 
of my mind
tucked away 
in an envelope
marked,
'Do not open until...'

Laughter
I remember her
her sound
bubbling up
making me smile
eyes twinkle
in a time
gone by,
Christmas maybe?

Laughter
I remember her
she knocks
once more
an old friend
returning
sharing
merriment 
and glee.

Laughter
I remember her
she's here,
with me.

©revdjo 31/8/14


Monday, 11 August 2014

A poem came tip-tapping

Tip-tapping on the window 
     the softly falling 
               rain 
running down the glass
     weaving a merry
               dance 
filling up the bucket
     with a resounding
               plop
the tip-tapping starts
     once more
               again

you think you 
              understand her
                   ways
                         but really you do
               not.


©revdjo 11/8/14
    
          
     


Thursday, 26 June 2014

Laurie Lee and the wonders of Slad Valley



 

Today would have been Laurie Lee's 100th birthday. Laurie was born in Uplands, Stroud, Gloucestershire and synonymous with the beautiful Slad Valley. Laurie is most famous for his novel, Cider with Rossie, which has also been adapted into a screen play, and for his poetry. His work is very descriptive and conjures pictures in the mind's eye, as all good writers do. I love the Slad Valley and, like Laurie, have fond memories of growing up in the area. My parents still live in Uplands and my mum's family were also born there. Before Uplands' Primary school was built the children in the area, such as my mum, would go to school in Slad. The Old school house is still there today. I'm not sure many youngsters of primary school age would walk that far to go to school today.


As a child I spent much of my time wandering around the Slad Valley, playing in the woods and paddling in Slad brook, with my friend Dianne Close. She lived in a wooden house in the Slad that I would get to by hiking up Folly Lane and taking a right across the fields down toward the Vatch. It had no mains electricity, only a generator. I stayed there a few nights and it seemed like living out in the wild, well to me anyway. We also use to go carol singing, knocking the doors in the village and giggling when they were opened. I think we just about managed to hold a tune. Talking about carol singing, at Uplands County Primary we would perform various musicals and carol concerts. I can remember being very cold shivering in Holy Trinity Church, singing in a Carol concert. Cold because there was, and still is, no central heating, and I had forgotten to wear my vest. I haven't been in the church for years, until last Saturday which marked the Laurie's Centenary anniversary celebrations in the village. How could I resist!

The village was awash with visitors, the Woolpack Pub was packed - although given how small it is that's not difficult. Hmmm.. I wonder if they still do off-sales and sell sweets from the little hatch to the village children. Yep, that's where we spend the carol singing money. One of my old school friends Elaine Day was exhibiting her handcrafted silverware. Such a talented lady. (I use to sit next to Elaine in Maths.) The exhibition is on all week but the valley is there for ever for you to roam. Another childhood memory is cycling up Slad Road to Bulls Cross. It would take an hour or so to get there (being up hill) but only about five minutes to get down. Oh, the joy of the wind in your hair and the sun on your back. So, go for a cycle if you dare.



If you want to know more about Laurie Lee and Slad have a look at the article in the Independent by Boyd Tonkin (just click on the hyperlink). I would love to retire to Slad, that's if they don't build in Baxter's Field! I have also told my husband that when I die (I'm not planning on it just yet) I would like my ashes scattered, or maybe interment here. As a Baptist Minister perhaps you are wondering why I would choose a Church of England graveyard? To me denomination is more about defining my theology rather than saying someone else is wrong or their faith inadequate in some way. I have many friends who are Anglican, Pentecostal, etc. I am also blessed with many friends who would say they have no faith, or who are Pagan. They are still my friends and I still love them, and so does God. 


Getting back to the point, or maybe that was the point, my grand-parents are buried at Holy Trinity. So is Laurie Lee. Laurie's grave has pride of place near the path by the door to the church. To find where my my grandparents are buried you have to take the winding track to the top of the graveyard. Unfortunately, I couldn't find them. It appears the gravestone is missing and the plots are overgrown. I hope I can go back again soon to try again. Remembering loved ones is important, but perhaps, treasuring our family and friends is more important whilst we still have them here to tell them we love them and give them a hug. Perhaps we all need to remember this.


 Who is that in the middle?