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St Marks Poem

Updated December 11, 2016 7:09 PM

By Norman Wilson Class of 1939

When I was small and went to school I attended St Marks infants.
We learned to write on a small slate board, with a rod of the self same substance.
The lady who taught us was Miss Peake. She was a disciplined teacher.
She`d walk behind us as we were writing, and rap our knuckles with a ruler.
The Headmasters name was Mr Smith. He always walked with a cane.
He didn't`t use that to punish us with , it was simply because he was lame.
Across St Marks St there was the church, and the Vicar taught us weekly.
I have since wondered what he thought, I remember that he looked at us sadly.

Perhaps because we were a scruffy lot, (Although we were quite clean),
He thought our attendance at his church, his congregation we may demean.
Then ,I remember , there came a time, I found myself alone in church,
With a half dozen bell ropes hanging down, waiting , ready for my eager clutch.
I had climbed a fair way up one rope, when I heard a voice, “Get down”.
I looked below and saw the Vicar and friends. Their faces showing scowls and frowns.
I wasn't`t aware of their silent arrival, being concerned with my mountaineering,
But then I realised what had brought them there . It was the sound of the church bell ringing.

When I went to school on the following day, I had to wait at the headmasters door.
He kept me waiting there for quite some time. Then I found out what the real cane was for.
On Fletcher Street was the Atlas cinema. That was a real `bug hut` that was.
Saturday afternoon was a matinee show, just a penny for `kids` like us.
Orange peel skimming through the light that the projector shone from the rear.
Stink bombs made out of celluloid film . We made sure that we didn't`t get near.
Sometimes, with a halfpenny and a jam jar we would get in to see the picture.
Provided that the jam jar was properly washed or the usher would give us a lecture.

Fletcher St ran across Bridgeman Street, and fifty yards from the junction
Was Walmsleys Forge. A big ironworks where Dad looked after the engine.
Sometimes I was allowed into the works to take dad his midday meal.
A big white basin with a bright red cloth wrapped around so that it wouldn't`t spill.
I was told that they made anchor chains for Liners and other big ships.
But when I grew up the Forge was no more. It had gone into receivership.
Now, houses are built all over the ground that Walmsleys Forge occupied.
It hardly seemed possible that such a large firm keeled over and finally died.

The Cinema , the Forge, the Church, all now gone. The fruit shop and pawnshop as well.
But, although it`s sometimes nice to reminisce it`s only good as a story to tell.

Norman Wilson

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