Dedicated to the very special man who inspired me to take up the brush, my father. An amazing artist and beautiful soul. His paintings focussed on those things he held most dear, nature in all its beauty, autumn reds and golds, snowy country lanes, hoar frost on branches. A poet... he also painted with words:
My Brother Jack and I
Oh, those far-off summer days
In memories darkly seen!
Some golden moments chance to gleam
Through the mists and ripples of time.
When we were boys, and the world was your's and mine,
Life seemed full of wonderous things.
Fishing for minnows in Siston stream…
Now only two old men's dreams.
The huge elm tree on Siston bridge
Whose branches filled the sky,
And gurgling water from the spring
Flowing swiftly by…
So sad, our friendly elm, long dead -
Now a stump – no leaves to shed
To lay a carpet all around
Upon the bare, hard, stony ground.
In a nearby field, farmer Garland turned the hay
Towards the sun, most every day,
And when he left, we would jump the gate,
scattering hay all around…
On summer days so long ago,
Here we played.
Oh that sweet smell warmed by summer sun,
Just freshly cut!
Nature and we were one.
Dull care and old age had not found us then,
Our clear blue eyes saw all,
and on our hands and knees we crawled
Through the arch
Beneath the bridge's granite wall.
And, in the ruins of Kilby's house,
hung chandeliers of fine cut glass
Which, in the shifting evening light,
Like diamonds, rainbow colours, flashed
and softly glowed.
The rafters stark, gaunt ribs
Black against the dark night sky,
Now a skeleton of its former self,
through the years had slowly died,
And only the sobbing wind grieved,
Bearing witness to its shame.
And all around grew raspberry canes,
No longer cultivated, all untamed,
Scrub, tufted grass, and wild wheat,
Rabbit holes beneath our feet...
Those were the days so long ago.
Deep grooves of once-tilled soil
Where man with horse and plough once toiled,
Here, Jack and I, with ‘Podger’ garland played,
And ‘Chucky Pig’ Hook, another friend,
On the long summer days
As we made our way to ‘Siston’ brook.
Then, as the purple darkness fell,
We moved away up Chiphouse Hill,
To talk of ghosts that – people said -
Roamed the ruins, when day had fled,
Of the Kilbys, now long dead.