Beryl Dyson

Beryl Dyson p.1

Thowd Clock

A Secret Burial

I Remember 1945

Thowd Clock
(Suffolk dialect)

“Wos tha toime Charlie be yar clock roight?
Cuz moi owd clock stopped in tha noight;
Ut stopped about half arter tew
An oi can’t git thowd thing t gew
‘Haps oi wounded he up tew toight
Ut guv a bang tha tuther noight.
Oi’ve picked he up, guv he a shook
An thowd pen-dew-lum cum orf tha hook.
Said tew tha missus: “Thas a rumum
Spooz we’ull hat ta git a newun.”

“We oont dew that” she say tew oi:
“Ta git ut agorn Oi’ull hev a troy.”
Har gits a lid a made o tin
An in ut shuved some paraffin.
My missus; har be allus roight,
Wornt gorn t set thowd clock aloight.
“Oi’ull leave thart be in thart thare clock
A doos o thart ull make he tock,
Ut ull be a day or maybe tew
Afore we git thowd thing ta gew”.
Strange thing oi hev tew say tew yew,
Dint heayr thowd clock till ut dint gew!

Copyright © 2008 Beryl Dyson
A Secret Burial

The old man leant on the almshouse door,
Frail and bent, his heartbeat poor,
Hard work and years now plagued his bones,
Movements made caused painful groans.
Some years beyond three score and ten,
Life’s end in sight, the Lord knows when,
A tale of villainy, his wont to relate,
His chosen listener, a girl from Park Gate,
She regularly passed as the school bell rang,
A rope for skipping or book in hand,
His sense of urgency, an uncanny feeling,
Drove him to tell her, perhaps this evening.
“Hoy! Girl!” He calls: “I’ve a story to tell,
Livermere history, an unusual burial.”
The girl paused to listen, knew Mr. Carmen
With great respect as a village historian.
“The Arundell family were Cornish nobility,
Held vast estates and mixed with royalty.
Arundell Coke, a barrister-at-law,
A devious scoundrel, from Livermere Hall,
Contrived to have his brother-in-law slain;
Coke with cut-purse Woodburn did only maim.
It meant death on the gallows to maim or disfigure.
"No! No!" Coke pleaded, their intention was murder.
Coke fought for their lives with words and fury,
But didn’t convince the Judge or Jury.
Near the Churchyard, where the foul deed was done,
Thirtyfirst of March, Seventeen twenty one,
On Angel Hill Bury, Arundell Coke was hanged;
Then to bury his body a plot was planned.
A criminal in consecrated ground isn’t right,
So his friends dug a grave and a tunnel at night
Outside the Church fence, at Livermere Pava,
All secret, mind, so he could rest with his father.
Coke’s coffin was pushed into consecrated ground,
Opposite the east window. A parson around?
Klzia, his widow, disgraced, broken hearted,
Sold the Estate and quickly departed.
Girl, remember this story, tell the next generation.”
By the look on her face, she’d have no hesitation.
She bade him ‘goodbye’, then went on her way.
He lit the tobacco in his short pipe of clay.
Horrific details of that night he’d not told her,
The blood mangled face of the maimed Bury Grocer,
Edmund Crisp, the brother-in-law Coke left for dead
With billhook blows, Woodburn rained on his head.
Greed, Lust for money, was the barrister’s demise,
Chief Justice King’s sentence was Coke’s great surprise.
This village story, passed-on once more,
He felt sure of a place in the churchyard next door.

(Note: The maiming took place in St. Mary’s Churchyard, Bury St. Edmund).

Copyright © 2008 Beryl Dyson
I Remember – 1945

What were you doing? In which town were you?
When peace was declared fifty years ago,
Marching or flying? In khaki or blue?
Out in the fields when the message came through?
A kid in short trousers, the sick and the old,
Can you remember without being told?
We sat on a sofa awaiting the news,
Just as we listened to Lord Haw-Haws views.
On the table, a bottle, of gran’s parsnip wine,
Nothing much more, we were rationed that time.
The old black-out blind hung tattered and torn,
Clothes that we wore were clean but well-worn,
Gasmasks in boxes graced the arms of our chairs,
With an old battered case at the foot of the stairs.
More people arrived, some stood near the door,
For gran’s parsnip wine or the news, I’m not sure,
The old wireless crackling, emitting shrill sounds,
Someone twiddling the knobs till the station was found.
Out came a message from dear B.B.C.,
It’s over! It’s over! We all shouted with glee.
Dad uncorked the bottle, a strong man was he,
Then poured out the wine as if it were tea.
A hush, as my granny who seemed to me quite bold,
Raised her glass to “the dear ones who would never grow old”.
Light shone from the house windows, I remember that night,
With no-one to tell us to ‘Put Out That Light’.

Copyright © 2008 Beryl Dyson
I Remember 1945 read by Beryl Dyson

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