England

Where is the street I loved so well
Of many years ago
The years have gone and who can tell
Where did those people go?

The old gas lamp where the gang would meet
At the top of Morris Lane
The alleyway to Carnals court
We sheltered from the rain.

Fish and chips at Mrs Trouts,
We would all go back for more
Buy some sweets from auntie Bess
Play fagcards by her door.

Salvation Army played across the road
Outside the house of Mrs Jones
So loudly beat the drummer
And full volume the trombone.

Down Hare and Hounds Street we would run
When the school turned out at four
Then we would play our marbles
And hopscotch by the score.

Rag and bone man and two sweeps
And many more good friends lived there
Daisy Pitt and the ‘prince of Wales’
Played their part in yesteryear.

Is this the street I loved so well
Of many years ago
The years have gone and few can tell
Where did those people go?

Bill Underwood

(Sheep Street is where Bill Underwood grew up in, took over his father’s business of the Underwood’s barber shop and now lives in a residential retirement flat.)

 

old sheep street devizes
Old Sheep Street – Devizes
Photo courtesy of Wiltshire Museum, 41 Long Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1NS www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk

 

 

 

 

Where, where are my mornings?
Where are my happy days?
Where, where is my shining sun?
Where are friends of mine?

Why did the sun go down on Bosnia?
Where did my morning dawn?
There’s no song, and there’s no happiness
All the tears won’t wash my pain away

(Volunteered with healing hands in Bosnia 1997-1998-1999)

Bill Underwood

In the streets of Sarajevo
You will see shell and shrapnel holes
Filled with plastic paint of red
These large and small paint-filled holes
Remain to tell us of the sacrifice
By the many, many wounded and the dead
Who fell in Sarajevo

Your crimson petals
Nurtured by your blood and tears
Shine and glisten in the rain
Locked deep, deep down
Inside those blooms of crimson red
Lay your sorrow and your pain

(Bosnia)

Bill Underwood

We walked to the barracks
Bernie, John, Eric and me
Time for call up
In the British Army
A beautiful morning
In the month of May
When we entered the gates
We were filled with dismay
The R.P’s greeted us
And shouted with glee
We hope you bastards
Will never be Free
Six weeks on the square
We marched up and down
Square bashing finished
We marched through the town
We marched to the station
The train took us away
After further training
We sailed far away
Hot sands and desert
Being sick on the sea
And two years later
We were home safe and Free

From the series “National Service poems 1947-1949 by Bill Underwood “

Poor Paddy, we took him along the road to hell, through Ishmailia to Moascar Jail.

Paddy looked sick and was really quite pale, as we entered the gates of Moascar Jail.

Which of the bastards will be prisoner here? Screamed the provost Sergeant as we stood in fear.

Prisoner and escort double around the room, the Sergeant’s voice then did boom.

We double and doubled and doubled around, till no more breath could be found.

Suddenly another Provo came from behind a door, got hold of Paddy and threw him to the floor.

He screamed at Paddy as he slammed the door. We heard Paddy groan and saw him no more.

We left poor Paddy in the jail and we drove back along the road from hell, through Ishmailia towards the Suez Canel.

No one spoke but our thoughts would tell, of what we had seen in Moascar Jail, and the terrible plight of poor Paddy.

(Paddy Purdell Court Martial March 1949)

From the series “National Service poems 1947-1949 by Bill Underwood “

“Blood Hell” said Ginger we did run well
Much faster than any Gazelle
For on that day the stakes were high
Near fifty of them against Ginger and I
Rocks and stones hurtled through the sky
But none of them hit Ginger and I
“Bloody Hell” said Ginger we did run well
Enkeliz askari yallah imshee
The mobs were screaming in old Tripoli
But as Ginger said we ran so well
We survived that day to tell the tale
“Bloody Hell” said Ginger, we did run well.

From the series “National Service poems 1947-1949 by Bill Underwood “

Egypt farewell, Goodbye, Adue
We leave you now forever
Our time is up, demob is due
We’re homeward bound whatever

We marched and slept on burning sands
With scorpions to torment us
You did not want us in your land
Our deeds sometimes outrageous

We go now to our promised land
Where grass is green all over
Sweethearts will wander hand in hand
Our army days are over

From the series “National Service poems 1947-1949 by Bill Underwood “

In the Corn Exchange
The band played
“Now is the hour”
We danced the last waltz

I walked her home
We kissed goodbye

On the troopship
I sailed away

Six hundred nights
I dreamed
Of the last waltz
And the goodbye kiss

On a troopship
I sailed home

In the Corn Exchange
The band played
I didn’t dance
The last waltz

I walked home alone

From the series “National Service poems 1947-1949 by Bill Underwood “

Olive Branch

Sadly I walk’d within the field,
To see what comfort it would yield;
And as I went my private way,
An olive-branch before me lay;
And seeing it, I made a stay,
And took it up, and view’d it; then
Kissing the omen, said Amen;
Be, be it so, and let this be
A divination unto me;
That in short time my woes shall cease,
And love shall crown my end with peace.

 

Robert Herrick (baptized 24 August 1591 – buried 15 October 1675

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heav’ns, a shining frame,
Their great original proclaim:
Th’ unwearied Sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator’s power display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty Hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The Moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the list’ning Earth
Repeats the story of her birth:
Whilst all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets, in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though, in solemn silence, all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though nor real voice nor sound
Amid their radiant orbs be found?
In Reason’s ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
For ever singing, as they shine,
“The Hand that made us is Divine.”

Joseph Addison (1 May 1672 – 17 June 1719)

Joseph Addison

Far from the churchyard dig his grave,
On some green mound beside the wave;
To westward, sea and sky alone,
And sunsets. Put a mossy stone,
With mortal name and date, a harp
And bunch of wild flowers, carven sharp;
Then leave it free to winds that blow,
And patient mosses creeping; slow,
And wandering wings, and footsteps rare
Of human creature pausing there.

William Allingham (19 March 1824 – 18 November 1889)

William Allingham

We are thine, O Love, being in thee and made of thee,
As théou, Léove, were the déep thought
And we the speech of the thought; yea, spoken are we,
Thy fires of thought out-spoken:

But burn’d not through us thy imagining
Like fiérce méood in a séong céaught,
We were as clamour’d words a fool may fling,
Loose words, of meaning broken.

For what more like the brainless speech of a fool,—
The lives travelling dark fears,
And as a boy throws pebbles in a pool
Thrown down abysmal places?

Hazardous are the stars, yet is our birth
And our journeying time theirs;
As words of air, life makes of starry earth
Sweet soul-delighted faces;

As voices are we in the worldly wind;
The great wind of the world’s fate
Is turn’d, as air to a shapen sound, to mind
And marvellous desires.

But not in the world as voices storm-shatter’d,
Not borne down by the wind’s weight;
The rushing time rings with our splendid word
Like darkness fill’d with fires.

For Love doth use us for a sound of song,
And Love’s meaning our life wields,
Making our souls like syllables to throng
His tunes of exultation.

Down the blind speed of a fatal world we fly,
As rain blown along earth’s fields;
Yet are we god-desiring liturgy,
Sung joys of adoration;

Yea, made of chance and all a labouring strife,
We go charged with a strong flame;
For as a language Love hath seized on life
His burning heart to story.

Yea, Love, we are thine, the liturgy of thee,
Thy thought’s golden and glad name,
The mortal conscience of immortal glee,
Love’s zeal in Love’s own glory.

Lascelles Abercrombie (9 January 1881 – 27 October 1938)