Three Poems by Ernest Edward Jackson
"Our District Nurse"
(written in 1995 & dedicated to the memory of Nurse Bingham, District Nurse for Guarlford)
In uniform of blue.
She nursed them all,
The young and old,
Brought the babes
When they were due.
Nurse drove a little Austin car,
Along the lanes it purred,
In early morn before the sun
And sometimes through the night.
A smile and wave
To all she passed,
She knew each one by sight;
For she had nursed her little flock
Through measles, chills and chicken pox,
Had sat for hours with aged ones,
Until they closed their eyes.
She bandaged sores, brought medicines,
Eased the aching limbs.
She watched them grow, her family,
And brought their children too.
The wave, the smile is still the same,
Hair now snowy white.
Eyes dimmer than before,
But still she knows each one by name,
And as her life draws to its end,
We know we've lost a well-loved friend.
When all is still and quiet -
Just wait a little while…
A ghostly Austin car purrs by.
It's "Our Nurse" with a wave and smile.
"The Jack Pit Lane - a childhood fear"
(Younger village children didn't like to walk down Jack Pit Lane which runs between Hall Green and Chance Lane and where it was rumoured a witch lived amongst the shadows.)
In daylight glare, no sunshine there,
Just towering elms, an overpass,
A narrow path through dank raw grass,
Prickly thick-set hawthorn hedge.
Straggly bush of brambles hide
Deep ditch with rotting compost laid,
Winter filled 'a witches' brew'.
No springtime flowers showing through the gloom,
In summertime a dogrose bloom
Pushed its head to find the light,
And children, petrified with fright,
Hurried through with scurrying feet,
In case a ghostly goblin meet
At the end of 'Deep Jack Pit',
Where the evil witch did sit.
"Guarlford Church Bell"
(In past times church attendance was much higher, as in many villages. The Rector had only St Mary's parish to care for, and a Sunday School met in the Church every week. Guarlford National School stood next to the Church. When the Church west wall was rebuilt in 1906 to incorporate new stained glass windows, the bell tower was deemed to be unsafe, and the Church bell was placed in a tree near the Church door - as a 'temporary measure'. It hangs there still.)
Victorian school - Victorian Church,
Dark granite stone,
In grass green mounds within its shade
Lie quiet now the folks of old.
The tree bell tolls,
To Mass it calls,
No answer now.
But once it rang and children sang,
And Sunday dressed the Village came
To greet their Lord, to sing His praise.
The tree bell rings -
No answer now.