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Children by Kasia Grzelak, 2018


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.