Colin F. Jones

I KNEW OLD ENGLAND ONCE

~ 1 ~

I knew old England once in my childhood,
When buttercups and daisies hued the fields,
That privet hedges divided from the forest,
Where bluebells in a basin grew concealed.
The Bells on Sunday mornings round the shire,
Called the farmers from their wool and bail,
To troop along behind the dawdling bier,
To pass the Saxon Cross in hat and veil.
There were flowers then aplenty in the Churchyard,
Below the towering trees where Rooks did nest,
And scratches on the walls from future bards,
Who’d scribed their dreams and other thoughts confessed.
And where the belfry tower reached the sky,
The weather cock atop it caught the eye.

~ 2 ~

It was only up the hill where I was born,
In Longdon’s Row where Apple Orchards grew,
And a mile or two away grew golden corn,
Beyond the meadows where the cattle chew
Below our sill a Robin used to play,
A crimson marvel stark against the snow,
While in the rafters Starlings black and grey,
Squabbled in a language we did not know.
Nearby you know the Jerries dropped a bomb,
Where the Rolls Royce factory sheltered in the trees,
The plane had scooted off when it had done,
But all it did was upset the Bumble bees…
And we were safe for blankets sealed the pane,
And I was hiding under the sheets again.

~ 3 ~

But my Dad, well he had gone to France,
Where Dunkirk would soon become the place,
Where the British with their lowered lance,
Would leave the chaos; withdrawing in calm haste.
One of the last to leave dad did not get a scratch,
And while he was there dear little me was born,
My Mother now has died but Dad, still lives,
He’s eighty seven and I am sixty four.
He is still as English as the day he went to war,
The Union Jack is still the flag he flies,
He rarely speaks of what his young eyes saw,
And my Mother still lives deep in his old eyes.
Eight children raised we have our own large clan,
All from one courageous woman and her man.