Muriel Jones (nee Mansfield) was born at Albert Village in Leicestershire in 1931. At school, she was amongst the best in her class and won a scholarship to a local grammar school, eventually becoming a Teaching Assistant in Swadlincote, a town in neighbouring Derbyshire.
She met, and subsequently married, Keith Jones (an engineer at Rolls Royce) in July 1950, living for a while in my home town of Heanor before moving to Derby in the summer of 1959 - a place where she still lives.
Muriel is an avid reader and gardener, who also takes pleasure in a number of crafts, but it was only recently that I came to realise that she has a hidden talent - poetry.
This page is reserved exclusively for her work, all of which I have read with a great deal of interest. Her style is easy, and the topics in question full of nostalgia to which natives of Derbyshire will quickly relate.
Enough of all that, and on with the show.
A Foggy Morning
Foggy, foggy morning, a dark and chilly time.
Silent, eerie fingers creeping up the spine.
Silvery webs of gossamer shivering in the breeze,
Brush across the face, low amongst the trees.
But greater danger lurks upon the great highway,
With traffic speeding past, each and every whichway.
Regardless of conditions, their oblivion complete,
To hidden unknown factors that threaten and defeat.
Nature is mysterious and works in many ways,
Beautiful so often, but deadliness displays.
A Musical Awakening
The maestro raises his baton and the music begins.
Slowly and softly at first, as if in rehearsal.
The days progress, lighter and warmer, the orchestra swells.
Soloists practice incessantly to perfect their performance.
The notes ring out, clear and vibrant, in the stillness of the early morn.
The air is gradually filled with a crescendo of sound.
The ultimate fanfare to the break of day.
The dawn chorus portrayed in all its glory.
Across the Bay
All was peace and calm across the bay.
Tide washed sands glistened in the sun.
Fishermen gathered by the harbour,
A restful haven when their work was done.
The cliffs around all teemed with life,
Underground caverns their homes secrete.
Fascinating rock pools, with crabs and shrimps
Pleasantly warmed by the noon-day heat.
All at once the scene was changed.
The gentle breeze picked up its pace,
The sky turned black across the sun
As if a veil had dimmed its face.
The wind began to twist and swirl,
Scattering all within its wake
With spray ascending in a plume,
When on the rock the waves did break.
Then suddenly the storm was stilled,
An eerie silence lay.
Once again the sun shone through
With radiance across the bay.
Autumn time suggests the end
As living things begin to fade.
But this can be the best time,
If proper plans are laid.
The leaves and plants all change their hue
To yellow, orange, brown.
But what a lovely picture
Before they all fall down.
The butterflies and insects
Take up a different stance,
Preparing for the future
Though appearing in a trance.
So it is with people,
A new lifestyle takes place.
So much freedom to enjoy
Albeit at a slower pace.
Time to really look around
And appreciate the view.
To live life fuller than before,
And make those dreams come true.
The breathtaking beauty of Wales
Will remain a source of delight
To millions who travel her pathways,
Be it morning, noon, or night.
The majesty of the mountains,
With Snowdon’s mighty peak,
Are awesome in their grandeur,
The kingdom all might seek.
The steams and rivers gushing down
O’er rocky crags they rumble,
Spewing out their frothy foams
As waterfalls they tumble.
The many multi-coloured birds
Soar high in clear blue skies,
Then swoop to seek their nightly roost
As the glowing sunset dies.
Lovely landscaped valleys
Mossy and flower strewn,
Appear more like paradise
In the fullness of the noon.
Memories of childhood flit to and fro.
Hot summer days and places to go.
Boats on the river, seeing the sights,
Beautiful vistas, squeals of delight.
Fun of the fair enjoyed to the full,
Swingboats and coconuts, dodgems as well.
Visits to grandma – what quaint clothes she wore,
Strait-laced and sombre, with skirts to the floor,
On long balmy nights we’d linger awhile,
Glance at the moon and search for its smile.
Such memories are treasured as pieces of gold,
Retained in the mind, recalled when we’re old.
Do You Remember?
Do you remember the green fields
Where we used to run and play?
The buttercups and daisies
And the smell of new-mown hay?
Whips and tops came out in spring,
Marbles too were all the rage.
Hoops to bowl along the street,
Bat and shuttlecock for any age.
Do you remember the dark woods
Where hide and seek was played?
The huge trees we used to climb,
Monarchs of all we surveyed.
Or even in the local park
On a warm summer’s day,
We’d all surround the bandstand
When the band began to play.
We all have fond memories
Of events of yesteryear,
But our happy childhood days
Seem to stay with us so clear.
Fifty Years On
Fifty years have passed since I became your bride,
But we are the lucky ones to still be side by side.
The path has been a rocky one along so many years,
But we’ve travelled it together, through laughter and through tears.
Let’s hope the way is smoother as we share our twilight years,
With more of the laughter, and only joyful tears.
(Golden wedding anniversary – 28th July 2000)
Grieve not for me when I am gone,
Life after all must still go on.
Live each day, seek not tomorrow,
Waste no time on tears and sorrow.
Let joy and hope be your reaction,
Life is too short for retrospection.
Going on holiday gives us great pleasure,
It’s one way of passing our newly-found leisure.
Some go abroad for the sun and the sea,
But the byways of Britain are a good place to be.
A South Cotswold village is the prettiest sight,
A stream winding through, all sparkling and bright.
With trout in the shallows, dashing to and fro,
Darting here and there, putting on a show.
The quaint little bridges spanning the streams
Lead to new pastures seen only in dreams.
Strange nooks and crannies with old-fashioned shops,
With things long-forgotten, like gay whips and tops.
The birds in their paradise, chirping all day long,
Singing to the world their merry freedom song.
Enhanced by the flowers and swathes of green grass,
There’s no finer place one’s free days to pass.
The artists abound to records all this beauty
For posterity’s sake, it’s clearly their duty.
Over Matlock Bath
Up, up and away the cable car did sway,
Spanning the wide ravine, broad vistas to be seen.
The river winding through the trees
Bowed into arches by the breeze.
Cars below appeared like toys, the songs of birds the only noise.
People on the nearby station gazed above in admiration.
Cameras clicked to snap the scene
Where they themselves had earlier been.
The summit reached with some relief,
The views around beyond belief.
Such peace and beauty on display
A joyous feeling to the day.
Pictures on a Wall
Pictures hanging on the wall
Happy memories do recall.
Some of family, also friend,
Some through which we play pretend.
Like sailing ship to distant lands
And stately home that looks so grand.
We dream that we are sailing too,
As privileged to take a view.
Country scenes and pretty flowers
Conjure up such peaceful hours,
As during cold, dark, rainy days
We gladly at those pictures gaze.
The wildlife and plants of the pond’s varied mood
Are dappled with sunlight through chinks in the wood.
The lilies and ferns provide nature’s need
As small water creatures flit through the reeds.
Bright crested newts and humped-backed toad
Bask in the warmth of their peaceful abode.
Butterflies in profusion are in their highest heaven,
Whilst swarms of honey bees enjoy their search for pollen.
The amazement never ceases at the wonder of it all,
That from a total wilderness such beauty should befall.
What is happening to our city?
Chaos reigns, more’s the pity.
Pedestrianisation is all around,
But cars and lorries still abound.
As up and down they all patrol,
Ignoring signs for their control.
Stores are always changing over,
The reason why, one can’t discover.
Why the urge for chop and change,
Confusing all within its range?
No longer do we have the pleasure
Of sights we long ago did treasure.
Progress is all fine and well.
Where will it end? Who can tell!
Gazing at the sky holds a fascination,
Wispy clouds unfold, giving inspiration.
Many picture form as they travel on the breeze,
Suggesting far off places, whilst billowing with ease.
A fairyland of wonder, mysterious and remote,
Away on magic carpet eventually you float.
Thrilling adventures are part of ancient lore,
So it’s never surprising that you’ve been there before.
You meet the familiar as if in a daze,
Remembering the past viewed through a haze.
Most of it pleasant, though trembling with fear,
Wonderful memories of those you hold dear.
A bird flashes by to break concentration,
The plummet to earth becomes your salvation.
Such Is Life
Fragrant flower of delicate hue,
Despite your frailty you bloom for so long.
Battered by the elements through day and through night,
You still remain strong.
You pleasure to everyone,
Then slowly fade and fall to rest where you belong.
But in the fullness of time resurrection occurs
As the cycle of life goes on.
Tapestry on the Wall
O aged tapestry sewn with care,
What bygone embroidered there
Of long, dark days and wintry nights
And shovelling on more shiny brights.
As nimble fingers on careworn hands
Intertwined those coloured strands,
Making pictures to delight
Beneath the ever flickering light.
The cares and worries of the day
Slowly seemed to fade away.
As each small stich was put in place,
The lines were smoothed from tired face.
The eyes grew dim, thoughts drift away,
Planning for another day.
Strength of purpose was restored,
Diligence its own reward.
The Battle of the Supermarket Trolleys
The gentleman jumped, a look of dismay
Came over his face in a painful way.
Holding his heal, he turned with a glare
To behold an old lady standing there.
With one mighty heave, he spun round his trolley
And whacked her real hard. Oh dear! What folly!
Not to be outdone, she fought like a tiger
Wielding hers too with strength that belied her.
With heads held high, they then strode apart,
Discretion at last overruling the heart.
Calmness now reigned, the battle was done.
Each believing that they had it won!
Dream becomes nightmare, the chase is on.
Turning and twisting, hither and thither, the chase quickens.
Lungs fit to burst, heart pounding,
Covered in perspiration, to wake with a start.
Blessed relief, the chase is over.
Not so for Reynard, nightmare becomes reality!
With no awakening!!
The Coming of Spring
Snowdrops lift their bell-like heads
As if about to shake and ring.
Ready to tell the whole wide world
Surely it must be nearly spring.
Morning breaks, all are awake
To hear the birds begin to sing.
Their breakfast warbling notes of joy,
Saying it really must be spring.
Crocus, tulips, daffodils bloom.
Insects, butterflies, on the wing.
Days become warmer, longer too.
Now it seems, at last, it’s spring.
Yes, spring is in the air,
Of that there is no doubt.
As all of nature’s wonders
Are truly blossoming out.
The Humming Bird
Humming bird, O humming bird,
A really amazing creature.
The structure of its wings
A truly unique feature.
Its colours are translucent,
Emerald, red and gold,
Turquoise, orange, purple too,
As the feathers they unfold.
Flowers are its life support,
Sipping nectar as it flies.
Hovering close, with probing beak,
Of every shape and size.
The pretty flower is well repaid,
As on the bird’s fine breast
The pollen clings, to pollinate
The next plants where it rests.
The smallest bird is its claim,
It seems the fastest too.
Its magnificence enhances life,
Its beauty shining through.
The Steam Train
The goods were loaded in the van,
The mail in one huge bag.
The guard then blew his whistle,
Another waved his flag.
The carriage doors were all banged shut,
A hiss of steam and smoke.
Then suddenly the buffers clanged,
What joy such sounds evoke.
The engine sped along its track
To Places far and wide.
Plumes of smoke rose to the clouds
Across the countryside.
The chug, chug, chug, of the freight train
As it puffed up the steep incline,
Was greeted with a friendly hoot
From the train on the downward line.
The wonderful days of steam
Are remembered with great affection.
The nostalgia is still preserved
By enthusiasts with true dedication.
The Timeless Timepiece
The sundial stands in the garden
Timelessly passing the hours.
Encircled by a web of life
Amidst the summer of flowers.
And even in the winter gloom
The days go fleeting by.
For naught can stem the flow of time
Still less the sunless sky.
Though the movement of the timepiece
Is unique in its simplicity,
The power of its silence
Seems to echo in eternity.
As with the sands of time
Its shadow wavers never,
So procrastination steals,
The moment’s lost forever.
The War Cry
War, war, war,
Becomes the constant cry
Of cold and savage people,
Intolerant and wry.
Never mind the bodies
Lying all around.
As long as profits flow
From oil below the ground.
Cash for bombs and weapons
Can readily be found.
What of help for soldiers,
Maimed, no future bound?
Concern for human rights
Has sadly gone astray,
But man of ‘Grab and Greed’
Will surely rue the day.
The Weeping Silver Birch
The pendulous habit of the silver birch
Shows branches draped as a crinolene skirt.
Swirling in summer, a gorgeous green,
Whilst autumnal tints are later seen.
Lime-coloured catkins of long lamb’s tails
Sway in the breeze like dancing frills.
Winter’s frost lends a silvery hue
But the advent of spring heralds colours anew.
Shimmering raindrops hang from the tree,
Jewels from heaven, as clear as can be.
They glisten and sparkle the length of the stems, Resembling a necklace of bright diamond gems.
The birds take a sip
Thus quenching their thirst,
A shake of the bough
And the bubbles are burst.
Thinking of Me
Gazing at the sunset
Be not forlorn
Just watch for the sunrise
At break of dawn.
Imagine green pastures
Cool and serene
Surrounded by views
A lovely scene.
Think of me there
In that wonderful place,
And surely the thought
Will lighten your face.
With cares all now gone
My spirit is free.
In your garden of memories
Think of me.
A treasure to love and behold
More precious to us than gold.
Whether in highways, byways, or woodland glade,
Her loveliness will never fade.
Her smile brings joy to all around,
As they wend their way homeward bound.
To The Winter Ermine
Dazzling white snow
Untouched and so pure.
Memories of you
In an earlier year.
Alas for man’s land
At the butt of a gun.
What sadness was caused
By what he had done.
Your lovely white coat
All covered in blood,
What reason, one asks,
More, for what good?
Your last breath was taken,
Your life at an end.
With whitest of snow
No more will you blend.
Where Do We Draw the Line?
Where do we draw the line
When we cage a beautiful bird?
To save it from extinction
Is the view so often heard.
Or keeping a wild animal
Enclosed in a wire pen.
‘Protection of the species.’
Say the many voices then.
Killing in the wild for survival
Is as old as the sands of time,
But as civilised human beings
Where do we draw the line?
The debate will always continue
As the pros and Cons are aired.
Whether ‘tis better to be wild and free,
Or in safe keeping, but snared.
All poems copyright © Muriel Jones 2014