A Kegworth Poet
Jessica Heafield and Cecilia Cran are my pen names. I have both of these names in my ancestry, although the Christian names and surnames do not belong to each other. I write on a wide variety of topics, usually because something has provoked me, angered me or saddened me, sometimes because I like to amuse others.
I have lived in Kegworth since 1962, and knew much of the 'old' Kegworth. I remember the cottages fronting Australia Yard, and those in Plummer Lane because I lived in these places. I remember the Barton's Bus Garage, and the Carnival, and some of the old shops. Some aspects of Kegworth are mentioned in poems, with some of the stories told by my Grandmother, Florence Cran (nee Heafield) who was Kegworth born and bred. She was one of seven daughters of George and Mary Anne Heafield. Her father was the village carter. My grandmother had six deaf brothers and I marvel at how my Great Grandmother bought up thirteen surviving children including six with a profound disability.! The wheel seems to have turned full circle because my own daughter now has two children with special needs.
I still live in Kegworth. My children went to school here, and I work in the village. Some things have remained, but much has changed, and I hope my poems will keep memories of these alive for many years to come.
Do You Remember?
Do you remember Kegworth
Back in those 60's days
How it catered quite well, with amenities swell
In its uniquely antique ways?
Knowles' store was an Aladdin's cave
It met one's every whim,
From washcloth scrim to lacy trim
And clothes for her and him.
The Co-op was down in Dragwell then
A place that is aptly named,
To drag a heavy grocery bag
Left tootsies tired and lame.
But Barnes shop could satisfy your feet
-no great Designer wear -
But if comfy clogs were your ideal togs,
You'd be Sure to find some there.
Do you remember Lottie's shop,
With stone steps steep and worn
It sold sherbet and Sunday mags, no 'fags'
But plasters a plenty for corns
Wives attended Wilders High Street shop
For their crockery, kindling and fuel,
And toys that they sought,
With a savings plan bought to pacify kiddies at Yule!
Did you wearily wander up Ashby Road
At the start of each working day
Where the local Bartons bus could whisk
You unwillingly on your way?
Do you remember Norman Brown
And Tony who worked 'on the buses'
And helped pave the way for our Carnival day
When they skewered the oxen on trusses?
And Winnie Bowler and Annie
Who tickets sold each working day
Whose passing smiles by-passed the miles
We bussed to work each day?
There were dances at the Village Hall
Sat'days monthly, from eight till eleven
When talent coups secured local groups
And renditions of "Three Steps to Heaven".
Now Keggies's changed a lot since then
And traffic treks endlessly by
And the only time "Three Steps to Heaven" is played
Is on History Channel on Sky.
We've got Indian nosh, and estates new and posh
And a race track and airport too,
But must trek here and there,
Some shoes for to wear
I don't think that's progress, do you?
The following poem appeared in Kegword magazine, as well as in the local Press, and in the National Poetry Anthology 2000.
WE WHO ARE LEFT
It is the little things that we remember
heads bowed, in the damp light of November
The way they looked, chins up, and heads held high
marching off to fight the foe beneath a foreign sky.
Those of us who watch with rain stroked eyes
still see their khaki'd arms bid last good byes
Whilst those of us who stumbled on in frost rimed mud
tasted mustard's sting, and smelled old blood
that dried upon the cold and stiffening limbs
and bought the flies to settle on the chest propped chins
Now stand and wear our poppies, stiff with pride
remembering little else but they who died.
"Kegworth Carnival" appeared in an issue of Cogword as well as in "A Taste of Central England" a poetry anthology published in 1993.
Once in Kegworth's streets, fond, much lamented days
folk came from miles around to watch the Carnival parade
Groups, drays, and marching bands brightly dressed, all raised
smiles from the watchers, who laughed and booed or praised.
The Queen and her attendants at the head of the parade
wore those truly regal dresses Mrs. Olive Rogers made
Melton Toy Soldiers, Tally-Ho's, all keen to serenade
whilst the vintage Barton's omnibus led the proud parade
Then we greeted Mr. Sibson down at the Carnival site
He attended to the Ox Roast dressed in overalls of white
Speeches from the Legion's Leslie Reid in portly stance
lads fancied pretty Dunbar girls as they got up to dance.
Shielding our tender ears from the Traction engines' wheeze
Oh goodness - how their whistling shook the Soar side trees
Riding the Golden Gallopers, recalling lost days of youth
far too long in the memory, much too short in the tooth.
Mr. Allcock collecting, with his Dolly's house on wheels
noises from the Wakes field, screams, shouts and squeals
wet feet - and wetter costumes - the year the rain came down
thirst enough to down the Bass Dray's great big bottle brown.
Home made, wine gold and red, elder flower champagne
sweet essences of sunshine, they tasted of summer rain
Then, the Saturday over on Sunday, hymns we'd raise
out there on the field in praise of Carnival days
Now the Carnival is over, but it will always be July
in Hallstone meadow, and our hearts, where memories never die.
The Experts argued long and hard, it wasn't hard to see
that they were split right down the middle, much like you or me
They said "It's very cruel to hunt poor Reynard to the death"
then "Preserve our proud traditions"
uttered in the self same breath
So we, the humble public, are left wondering how to vote
Do we don Protestor's anoraks, or scarlet hunting coats?
The Lawyers and the Doctors, in all their high estate
chose to deny humanity when describing Mary's fate
using "Parasite" and "tumour" to describe her sorry plight
they cut the silver cord of life with pen, then scalpel bright
But when their page in Heaven's book is opened to record
the value of their lives on Earth, and that of Heaven's reward
and an Angel comes to lead them into the promised land
will they wonder at the irony when they're led by Mary's hand?
SEAGULLS AT WHITBY
Their ease denying gaze at first I sense
atop high garret windows, pearly glazed.
Amid the blue, grey, garnet rooftops dense.
They lie, discarded remnants of the clouds,
above the ebb, flow, sea-swell of the crowds.
THE CONSTANT COMPANION
Who will guard with an eye ever open
to those who approach as a foe?
Who will guide those who tread a dark pathway
and show them the safe way to go?
Who gives voice, without seeking an answer?
Who is honest and faithful and true?
Who is there just to be a good listener
when too much is bothering you?
Who obeys the commands of the shepherd
and the officer out on the beat?
Who seeks out the scent of explosives
for the soldier in lonely dark streets?
Who, from Gelert to Boatswain, has proven
that when life's wheel is missing a cog
then the only thing needed to mend it
is the devotion and love of a Dog!
Give us a paint box full of colours sharp and shining
with each different shade so fresh and clear and new
and we'll paint the world with smiles for sunny mornings
and mix in all our tears for skies of blue
We will only use the green for summer meadows
and not just for jealous faces full of spite
and the greyness of all anger colour silver
to create a world of joy so sweet and bright.
We'll use crimson for the poppies brightly coloured
and the blue we'll use to colour summer skies
Brown we'll use for autumn scenes of reds and ambers
and we'll colour golden every bird that flies.
We'll cover over scars of war with pretty flowers
and paint a bridge to cross the oceans of all fears
We will wipe away the blackness of all sorrows
with clear memories that wash away the tears.
In black and brown we'll paint a picture of the children
with their matchstick limbs and bellies swollen round,
and with the bombs and guns of war we will surround them
and we'll paint their blood with red upon the ground.
In brightest yellow we will paint in all the gold dust
in black we'll paint the barrels full of oil
but with white we'll paint the faces of the miners
who have worked and died so far beneath the soil.
But when we have finished painting all our pictures
and the paints inside the paintbox all are dry
shall we crumple up this world of our creation
and continue still to ask the question "Why?"