By Beth Winchcombe & Jack Horne
October 2, 2015)
The aroma of hops
wafting forth as I pass
the High Street Brewery.
The white suspension bridge
with slatted wooden walkway,
the river flowing beneath,
puts fear in my childlike heart.
Grandparents living nearby
in their cosy cottage,
reflecting an image of quaint shops,
full of candy in jars...
Candy! My mouth salivates;
Granny quells my longing -
she buys me some to take home.
She loves me, I love her.
The nearby park, a square
cordoned off with swings;
a playground full of happy delight.
I like to ride my red bike
around the pond with no ducks
Dad lets go and I fall off.
Wearing my cousins' castoffs or old clothes
from jumble sales at the church where Gran works.
New clothes at Christmases or birthdays
(that I'm not allowed to play in!)
School dinners, their smell instilling dread;
at least a welcome break from lessons.
The crowded playground,
its chatter and laughter carrying far.
I always add to the noise,
but I'd rather be at home with my mum
(although I'm in love with my teacher
and swear I'll marry her some day!)
Ah, so much has changed since then,
but fond memories stay alive in my heart...
For many years, Beth & I were close friends. We shared the daily dramas of our lives, laughing & commiserating with one another; and we shared our poetry & prose, offering one another honest feedback. We also enjoyed writing together (quite a few of those pieces have been published).
Geoff, her husband, phoned one evening to me to tell me the awful news. Beth had died that day. It was all so sudden. I had spoken to her the day before, as normal.
With Karen's encouragement & Geoff's blessing, I decided to write with Beth one last time. Geoff chose a poem that Beth had written, & I have written & added my part to her words. I believe Beth would have liked this.