Poems and Anecdotes by Frances Gregory
Also see Walking the Hudson Way (in history section)
If my garden had some soil
I would make a mud pie
A little water added
Will be pleasing to the eye
Blend it into shape
Lay it safely on the ground
Seek out decoration
But do not make a sound
I need buttercups and daisies
A thistle with a fly on it
A clover or two
A worm to finish off
With a beetle by its side
Invite the snails for dinner
Serve it up with pride
It's a treat which I have made them
To be eaten at night
I hope they savour every mouthful
This culinary delight
Alas, I have no soil
My garden, so much paving
Complete with many leaves
Obviously I'm saving
The snails will go so hungry
And have to look elsewhere
Life's full of disappointments
Disillusions and despair
Silently resting on a leaf
In a world of your own - at peace
Not blinking an eyelid
You have wings so dainty and white
With delicate spots on each tip
Antennas for protection moving in the gentle breeze
Which softly whispers through the trees
Are you dreaming
About the world you see?
How strange nothing disturbs you
Even as the leaf you lie on moves
I'll leave you now and go
Your thoughts I'll never know
I am not really a person who enjoys clothes shopping. I get really hot and tired when a store is packed, as I am sure most people do. I hate having to stand in a long queue that seems to go on forever. But most of all I really don't like being approached by a well-meaning shop-assistant, who asks, "Can I help you?" I just like to try and browse, but shop assistants put me off and I leave the store. I know they are doing their job to the best of their ability. In a word, I find shopping stressful.
However, when I visit a friend of mine, now living in Derbyshire (but used to live in Nottingham) it is a whole different picture. You see, we both used to go out in the afternoon on a Saturday for the peak period of shopping. A contradiction, you might think. but we did have other motives.
The Nottingham lace centre was our first port of call. My friend is a lace maker, so this naturally is of interest to her. I like it too, but I also like the atmosphere of the lace centre. We have a cup of coffee here, then head for the main shopping arcade, to the hat shop there.
Hats can look really good on some people, but I'm not one of them! The aim is to find the most expensive and hysterical-looking hat. It's fun with the two of us!
One of the times we visited, we were both wearing casual clothes. I was going to be attending a wedding a fortnight later. I thought I would use this excuse for "choosing my hat", although I had no intention of wearing one.
I found a very tall top hat. It was made from deep red velvet, and lined with a satin-like material. It had two very bright coloured flowers lying either side on the brim. These flowers were shocking pink, and a deep yellow. We both spoke loudly, "Jane, what do you think to this. I think it would make a good impression, but does it suit me?" I asked her. "No Fran", she said, "Try this. If suits you much better". She picked up a yellow sou'wester made from PVC, and looking just like a fisherman would wear. "Let me try it" I replied.
Other people passing by looked interested. We could tell obviously that they thought we looked ridiculous, but they weren't saying anything, just thinking it. We KNEW we looked ridiculous, but then that was the aim. In fact, their reactions were much funnier than the hats!
We tried on a few more hats, and then decided we would leave and return to my friend's house, and "The Mad Hatter's Day Out" made good conversation over dinner that evening.
I do think about this when passing hat shops or displays, or watching the ladies at Ascot on television. This type of thing is therapeutic, especially if one has had a stressful day or week, one just has to take care not to damage the goods.
Wigs can have the same effect. It is amusing and I recommend it! In fact I do like caps and berets, especially if the fabric has a light good patterned fabric, but I don't own either.
Editor's Note: I have been informed of another hat incident perpetrated by Frances. When chosen to play the "Tin Man" in an amateur production of "The Wizard of Oz", Frances went to a hardware shop to obtain a suitable funnel for the Tin Man's hat. When shown various sizes of funnel, she asked to try them on before choosing one. Unfortunately, she forgot to explain what it was for! I suppose the shop assistant was just glad to sell one, although it must have been unnerving, especially when the customer left the shop wearing the funnel!
God in his creative wisdom
Made many things.
One of them being the moon we see high
Above us in the evening sky.
Silvery gold in colour,
But not too bright.
Her craters are dark and mysterious.
She gradually makes her appearance
As we draw further into the night
Gracefully looking down on us in her bright array
Her movements are poetic
Like the day, which is fading away.
She can see what is going on
Both on the Earth and in the sky
Her vigil still and silent
With an ever watchful eye
The clouds so slowly moving
Closer and nearer to her
And as her face is slowly covered
She kisses the world goodnight
Previously published by Forward Press
The river was silent that afternoon. We sailed gracefully downstream. Nearing some reeds and rushes, a family of mallards caught my eye: a mother, closely followed by her young swimming all around her, their little quacks fully expressing their fun.
Then I saw them dip their downy heads below the water. I don't know what they looked for. All I could see were fans of feathers bobbing about. When once again the ducks resurfaced, I threw them some bread, which of course they gratefully accepted.
For a short while, this little group followed us in our boat, almost as if our guests. But when it was time to want their own space again, mother gathered together her children.
Keeping themselves to themselves, they went their own way. In the peace of the afternoon, in the tranquillity of the flowing river, we sailed on to our destination.
The following poem was written from an inspiration whilst walking the dog one fine spring night in April 1999. I walked form Beverley Minster on a circular walk, returning to Beverley Minster, duration about two hours.
The evening as described was really pleasant and the walk relaxing. I was able to take in my surroundings and thought to myself just what a lovely scene this was.
Nothing is so beautiful as Nature herself. In this busy world of moving time and hectic living, peace and tranquillity can still be found.
For those people of a religious nature, whether deep or not, nothing can be so near to God as His own creation.
I hope the reader enjoys this poem as much as I enjoyed the walk!
Five of us together
Walked one fine spring night
Enjoying what each of us had to offer
In that day of lengthening light
The earth upon which we trod
Coming to fresh new life
Winter days left far behind
And now a pretty sight
Rabbits too were having fun
Ran and hopped about
Feathered songstrels filled the air
With soft and gentle tunes
Happy voices of young children in the park
Gardens and hedges bloomed and flourished
Like that of a painted picture
With the sun in majestic splendour, orange fire all aglow, the trees were silhouettes, tall and dark. Even at this time of day, the sun provided warmth and shadow, as we went along our way.
The silver moon high up there
In the closing evening sky
Softly looked down to us
As she watched us walk by
I see this picture still
Within my mind's eye
The sun sank slowly and
I'm sure I heard him say
"I'll be back again with you
To share another day"
"I am moving now out of sight
And therefore bid a sweet goodnight"
We parted company, but with the moon remaining with us until we reached our home, gently reassuring us we would never be alone.
The dog and I then went indoors
To settle for the night
In my prayers to God I said
Thank you for giving me
That precious gift of sight
Five of us are close friends still
Remaining so we always will -
The Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the dog and I
Fathoms below the ocean
In all of Nature's prime
Dwells a family of fishes
Swimming so free
In that gallery of colour
There I stand and gaze
At the rainbows which surround me
So much to see
Shades, shapes and colours
Distant and near
What do you think?
What do you hear?
What are you saying?
Secret stories of long ago
Why do you whisper?
I really don't know
I see clouds of salt filling the air
As I softly tread along the never-ending sea bed
The visions above me are blurred
And the water gently in whirlpools ripples
From my dreams I come to reality
Today is another day