People's Poetry - Ashfield

Where Colliers Once Toiled (Teversal Nature Reserve)

Ghostly figures watch in awe ‘breathe the fresh air’ they whisper.

Trees sway as spirits of the past soar above,

swirling the leaves and branches into a frenzy.

Spectres look down in wonder at the dramatic change.


Where are the dark dusty coal wagons groaning and clanking as metal meets chain,

the whistle of engines warning of their presence, the cacophony of sounds,

screaming in defiance, each louder than the other?

Where are the men with bowed backs, black lined eyes staring from grey sullen faces.

Those generations of men destined to toil in darkness in the bowels of the earth?

King Coal is dead!


The mud strewn tracks once trudged daily by workers,

now transformed into clean pathways and open spaces for others to roam.

Meadows of cornflower and buttercup,

where birds sing their song of freedom replace the doomed caged canary.


Wildfowl silently gliding across the lake leave a stream of chevron ripples in their wake.

Nature at peace is allowed to flourish to conceal the lives of brave men and boys who toiled in a living black hell.

Ghostly whispers murmur on and smile at their legacy ‘Breathe the fresh air and remember….. remember the price paid by others.’

Andrea Foster


Mary's Answer to Lord Byron

Oh Byron, is it me you yearned ?

Or boyhood days to be returned,

Your writings are a fallacy

Within your mind, a fantasy

Your love you claimed to be but one

But childhood days are passed and gone,

And you’ve had many loves besides

The one for me, that never dies.

Would you want another near ?

If your love was so sincere,

And you have roamed so far and wide

You claim your love has never died

But you have taken many a lover

And I, I think you as a brother

Your life at times has been uncouth

I think you’re chasing mis-spent youth.

Rosemary Shatliff

N.B. (This is written as if I were Mary Chaworth answering Byron)


A Moment in Time

Ancient whispers of ages past

Whinnying breath from horse's mouth

Galloping echoes over the hills

Hooves clatter at the wrought iron gate.

Down he limps to the Great Hall.

Mary sits on the landing

A pretty maid brushes her shimmering hair Spies the handsome boy below

The maid whispers slyly 'will you marry Lord Byron m'lady?'

'What, me marry that lame boy? Never!'

The boy pauses for a moment, heart breaking Turns his ashen face, and leaves

Never to return.

Pat Lowe

Hucknall_-_Hannah_Sawtell_1024.jpg

Illustration of St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall by Hannah Sawtell


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