Dusty village road strode thrice or more,
Though little legs tired less so then.
Us in our dresses and floral crowns,
Them in their suits wielding wicker crosses,
All travelling barefoot
down that village road.
Meandering streams and plump pear trees,
Severed grass and blooming carnations
All filled our senses with sweet things.
Though now all remains, a bitter perfume.
Vintage cars chug and trail along
Those familiar winding tracks
As bagpipe melodies swell the air
And keep the fading banner just afloat
Until Noon’s blistering sun lays low for another day.
Herded two by two to tea and cake,
The village hall always offered a warm welcome,
Though it was, as always, cold
And full of mould.
We didn’t care that the damp set heavy
Like a thick fog on our little lungs.
*Hark! The Herald Angles Sing,*
Every year on that Christingle eve.
While heavy chapel walls project the operatic symphonies,
We line up one by one, whispering childish chatters
And traverse the pews lit only by flame.
Community spirit at once all intertwined
By this annual affair that faith has defined.
*Glory to the New-born king!*
Each child has only one thing: An orange
Bound by red tape, impaled with cocktail sticks,
And ornamented with dolly mix.
One solitary candle precariously teeters,
Dripping hot wax on little hands and cool stone paving,
Setting like moments of memories engraving.
A Part of Eden
Flowing just beneath the school-bus bridge
And stretching far beyond old Bluebell Woodland
Where the Swaledale field is your closest neighbour.
This is where we find you.
You offered endless laughter and provided-
Provided for man and woman, girl and boy and beast,
Creepy crawlies carved houses in your clay banks
Engorged with mellow waters.
Waters to wash the weary traveller horse
And suspend the clustered minnows on their path.
Lonely mudskippers glide on your slippery surface
Where the Sun reflects back and blinds itself.
About the Author:
Francesca Crosby is currently studying first year English Literature at Newcastle University, opting for creative writing modules also. She grew up in the tiny rural villages of Warcop and Little Musgrave, surrounded by the Cumbrian countryside. While she now lives in central Newcastle for her studies, Cumbria is a special place for her and the traditions that it has are what these poems are based on.