I have 12 sabbatical days left, so I'm reaching the point where I'm thinking Oh meant to do that ...
Amongst those things was a hope I would find time to write some poems and hymn texts, but on the whole the creative block is still there. However, I've managed one (and some bits that might emerge into something). This is the first - and might be the only one - in a series of poems which will tell something of the diversity of 21st Century Rochdale life. It is my privilege to hear lots of stories and so if the series continues it will include stories that begin in Rochdale and Congo and Pakistan and Ukraine and Manchester and merge together in modern day Rochdale.
This tells one story from the wartime generation. It is a story that I have heard on many occasions in pastoral visits, arranging funerals, from siblings born 8 years apart, from carers and from faded photographs.
Tune: Deep Harmony
A Lifetimes Wealth
Edith fusses for husband James
who smiles and booms “Hello, young man.”
He’ll forget I’ve been, once I’ve gone
We’ll enjoy a moment, share some fun.
Married in the autumn of ’39
Second child born late ’47
Roomful of memories, keep smiling down
A life well-lived, for earth and heaven.
One week pass began married life.
First child born as Singapore fell.
Nursing their babe, James fate unknown
He marches fearful into hell.
Just once he told of Changi days
tears streaming down, men left behind.
She tells of a letter, long time wait
for young Jimmy a father to find.
They love to tell of children’s lifes
grandchildren spread around the world.
Success and peace in all they’ve done
in much laughter, good life unfurled.
Edith won’t let James go again
watches o’er his failing health.
Holds him close for final years,
love providing lifetimes wealth.
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