Sunday, March 22, 2020

Wottonunderedge - poetry by James Stokes


Sinwell is a suburb fair 
Of ancient Wottonunderedge town;
The Cotswold hills high in the air,
Like towers of majesty look down.

On January 2nd, in fifty five,
I first beheld the light of day;
Since then each day have had to strive,
In traveling life's uneven way.

A town in which her sons take pride,
Now old in years though small in size;
With hills and vales much beautified, 
Whichever way you turn your eyes.

Some residents of far off days, 
Are held in veneration still;
One led his flock in prayer and praise,
The famous preacher Rowland Hill.

Sir Isaac Pitman came to live,
And practiced here the Golden Rule;
Gave of the best he had to give,
And founded here a shorthand school.

And others of that far off day,
Of whose good deeds the records tell;
Suffice it now for us to say,
They served their generation well.

Two miles away stands Nibby knoll,
Above the lovely Berkeley vales; 
Across the Severn without toll,
Are seen the mountains of old Wales.

Upon that knoll securely stand,
The William Tyndale monument;
Who died for God and native land,
Translator of the Testament.

For God and Truth and native land,
For righteousness he always stood;
In life he made a noble stand,
And sealed devotion with his blood.

Many years have passed away,
Since I left my native town;
But I can most truly say,
"She has a beauty all her own."

To many places I have been,
Some large some small, some far and near;
Among them all I have not seen,
One place to me one half so dear.

More than forty years ago 
from home and friends I part,
And all these years I've carried them
engraved upon my heart;
In fancy to her vales I stray or climb her lofty ledge,
And still I say, give me I pray,
my Wottonunderedge.

- James Stokes
Bridgeton, RI
January 22, 1914

James Stokes was my great-grandfather.  He was a Christian and Spiritual man. I never met him but feel he is part of me as we both needed to write poetry and express ourselves via the written word.
He came from England with his family to the USA for a better life. He and the Stokes family is buried only a mile away from home - the same small town in northwest RI as I have lived for 30 years. 
His blood runs in mine...I am Blessed.

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