Colin F. Jones

SPONDON BELLS

~ 1 ~IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: January 27, 2009
Awarded: January 27, 2009

The tintinnabulation of church bells,
Mesmerized the air with religious tones,
Reverberating through narrow alley ways,
Through which the wind in harmony moaned.
The cockerel twirling on the steeple point,
Uncertain which way to ride the breeze,
Marked a day of grand confusion,
Among the Rook infested trees.
The Chaffinch chortled in the hedgerow,
As the blackbird tried to sing,
But the clanging and the wailing,
Made it hard to hear a thing…
Due to the tintinnabulation of the Church bells
That just perpetually ring.

~ 2 ~

The dull stone walks all look polished,
Clothed in the ice of frozen dew,
From the sunless sky the frigid drizzle,
Allowing icicles to accrue;
Hanging translucent from the gutters,
Snotty beards and leaking taps,
Keeping folk behind their shutters,
From reaching for their caps.
Yet with frozen feet and stiffened fingers,
Some responding to the bells,
Slip and slide along the pavements,
That soon the congregation swells;
And the singing when the bells stop,
Can be heard throughout the dells.

~ 3 ~

Sometimes the sun peeps gently through,
In margins rainbowing through the showers,
Bringing life to all the evergreens,
And their hardy little flowers.
It may be brief but gives sweet glimpses,
Of something better than the cold,
Something promised; something hoped for,
A bloom to fully yet unfold.
Tis like a smile that enters sadness,
To restore a tranquil element of peace,
With a touch of joyous warmth,
In that faithful thoughts increase.
So let us hope the bells keep ringing,
For ‘tis cold and lifeless when they cease.

~ 4 ~

There were holes in our footwear
The cardboard liners soaked up the rain,
Freezing toes and cringing arches
That caused us a lot of pain.
But we always kept on smiling,
Through our white work chattering teeth,
For the blaze of sun beguiling,
Gave us substance for belief.
The spiked holly leaves; red berries,
Shuddering in the spiteful breeze,
Flicking snow drops into motion,
That runny noses apt to sneeze,
Brought to mind that it was Winter
And that we called them Christmas trees.

~ 5 ~

It was never always Winter,
The Spring flowers and bees would come,
Hurrying faster than a sprinter,
To get all the Spring things done.
Before the Summer stole the glory,
For ‘tis then the Sun puts on its best,
Infiltrating every story,
Of Springtime’s blossoming conquest.
Yet all that grows and blooms must wither,
Thus before the return of Winter white,
The Autumn zephyr’s here and thither,
Become depressingly impolite.
Things fall from the trees and discover,
The everlasting night.

~ 6 ~

Through the snow drifts white and woolly,
Tis still where we children used to tread,
Me with one eye on Margaret Sully,
Whom in my thoughts had made her bed.
Footfalls thawed the slushy pathways
That ran like trenches through the snow,
Where we squelched in our warm overcoats,
Through the icy rain and blow.
But my feet were never warm,
Because my toes stuck through my boots,
Through which the slushy icy water,
All claim to comfort soon refutes.
But we did not have much money,
And surely never ties and suits.

~ 7 ~

Dark shadows lurked at our borders,
And we closed and locked our door,
For my father obeying orders,
Had volunteered to go to war.
The only light at night still shining,
Was the uncompromising moon,
As I lay cuddled up to my Mother,
In our blacked-out upstairs room.
There were two of us, my brother,
Who was born two years before,
Who with me under the cover,
Was quite safe from Hitler’s war.

~ 8 ~

A madman and his armies,
Sheer ugliness afield,
Were raining bombs and shell upon us,
Trying I think to make us yield.
When the air raid sirens sounded,
With a dreadful wailing sound,
Most scurried to the shelters,
Concrete bunkers underground.
But we just lay there hoping,
Safe, with our Heads beneath the sheets,
While the red-hot ack-ack tracers,
Searched for some German plane to meet.
And the search lights got beaming,
The German bombers quick to greet.

~ 9 ~

The gasmasks smelt like stale rubber,
And sucked the colour from my face,
And my breath made it all so misty,
That I could not see to tie my lace.
If we saw anything of colour or fancy,
Lying in the field or in the street,
We were told seriously not to touch it,
To be very cautious and discreet.
Because the nasty Jerries dropped enticements
That were really lethal bombs
To attract us little children,
Thinking they were good presents for our mums,
Or simply things to play with
And share with our chums.

~ 10 ~

The war lasted not forever,
Wars tend to wane and finally end,
So we were let more off the tether,
To seek adventure with a friend.
In the forest there were trees aplenty,
Where we could hide and climb and play,
And brooks of bubbling water,
Reflecting light on a Summer’s day.
We swam in the ponds and rivers,
And scrumped from the apple trees,
We had bows and sticks and quivers,
Wooden swords and skinless knees.
And there was always Margaret Sully,
Who could outrun a swarm of bees.