We do not regularly publish poems in Barrow Voice, but for this issue, three very different poems have been sent in and we thought they were all worth sharing. So, thank you to Barrie Ashworth, Kole Levett and Helen Sadler.
Many of you will know Helen Sadler as the producer/director of the immensely popular murder mystery plays performed yearly in the village. Last year it was impossible to produce a play due to the pandemic. Down but not out, Helen has written a play called, First Class Death, to be performed in the spring on 26th March on Zoom.
What you may not know is that as well as being a talented writer Helen is also an accomplished artist. She has written a poem about her childhood called, Childhood Colours, her brother challenged her to illustrate it and the result is what you see here, enjoy.
Choose your poem.
Here We Go again by Kole Levett aged 10
It’s time again, lockdown number three;
more of Bazza’s delayed stupidity.
The schools are shut, education came home.
We’re forced to feel scared and alone.
I’m in my bedroom, thinking about family;
waiting for scientists to find the magic key.
Hands. Face. Space.
Together we can save the human race.
Doctors wear masks, now we do too;
do everything possible to save me and you.
They watch people die, they feel the pain.
Riding this storm of thunder and pain.
Get out your colours, paints and pens;
let’s get bright rainbows in the windows again.
To show NHS staff how much we care.
Their dedication and commitment is extremely rare.
Routine is different but we will survive.
Together this pandemic won’t ruin our lives.
Barrie Unsworth, pictured wih with Daniel, one of his grandsons,
has lived in Barrow since 1973 when he married June Hands.
Whilst June’s family has been in Barrow for generations, Barrie himself hails from Oldham in Lancashire. He was in the RAF, stationed in Luffenham, when he met June at a new year’s eve dance in 1969. He fell in love with both June and Barrow upon Soar and although he left the RAF, he remained with both his wife and the village.
His children grew up here but, whilst his son now lives with his family in Nottinghamshire, his daughter Clare Tyler is settled in Barrow with her husband Steve and their nine-year-old son, Fred.
Barrie worked for Marconi and several other companies as an electronics and computing engineer and has travelled around the country and abroad but always loves coming back to Barrow, walking along the river and canal and writing poetry.
The Village by Barrie Ashworth
I live amongst these red brick dens
Where friends and family dwell
A sanctuary from a hurried world
That pleases me so well
One can find a shop or two
That feed the hungry throng
There are some ancient hostelries
Where you may hear a song
There is a Church with wedding bells
How oft I hear their peels!
You can see the little children
Feel their laughter, hear their squeals
There is a river flowing past
With green and grassy banks
And for that peaceful tranquil scene
I offer God my thanks
My children are a joy to me
They give no pain or fear
I raise my eyes and thank the Lord
That they could grow up here
It is not a Shangri-La I fear
That Paradise of dreams
There are no princes, dukes or earls
Here men are all they seem
Once they found a dinosaur
That long had ceased its roar
And the poor old chap that found it
He was lifted from the floor
It is a fact, my friends
I would say it loud and clear
That if I had to leave this place
No one could count my tears
I cannot say that is my plan
The thought makes my heart leaden
The only way I’m leaving here
Is to find that other heaven
There are dark days and golden ones
When the world seems more at ease
But each and every one of them
I will live in Barrow please.
So - here’s the thing: the colours of the
coast, that blue and silver light, that waited smilingly
for us in the toll-free time with visitors
gone. Shedding shoes, we waded in,
kicking white and silver shards to soak our
current foe or leaping from dune’s edge to
land on grass greenly poking through gritty ochre sand.
Or sailing down Foxborough Hill, handlebars
bare of hands, tee-shirt speed blown against my
balanced form; don’t look down at the
spiteful grey road, don’t look back at the
gasping steep hill but speeding, sailing ever on,
glidingly pass mothers and neat daughters
who shrink from my bike’s brakeless rush and whoosh.
And tuneless Christmas bellows on the bay-ward
road, the lonely, chilly pebbles, deserted on this day of days,
reach lovingly to our five gold rings
and white swimming swans, while we ran, and ran,
and ran for joy, and love of life and family, wind
salty air, white breaking waves and crash of shingle
as we plunged and staggered laughing to the sand.
Our first home was a village
A new-build on a hill
With fields close by of wheat and rye
I wish we lived there still
The mortgage left us very short
Our budget was quite small
But we could eat and have some treat
It wasn’t hard at all
We saved up for some furniture
But we didn’t have that much
We didn’t mind – we’d always find
The means for such-and-such
Our little ones grew up there
With fresh air, friends and fun
A park with swings and other things
Where they could play and run
But then we came to Lancashire
And life changed over night
I missed my home and fields to roam
And nothing felt alright
That was many years ago
And things of course improved
My life is full and never dull
I still wish we hadn’t moved.
Contributions to this page came from Val Gillings as well as the poets and the editor.