The Calder Valley Poets


Members of the Group

Members of the Calder Valley Poets included

Samuel Banks
Thomas Barker
Albert Benjamin Bayes

A. J. Carr
Edgar Crabtree

Daniel Eastwood
Smith Emmott

Anne Fielding
Samuel Fielding

James W. Garside
Rev J. R. Godfrey

William Walton Graham

Levi Haigh
Robert Halstead

Kate (Heather) Lumb
Whiteley Lumb

Samuel Mellor

Dyson Watson
Major Wild
George Mansell Williams
John Wrigglesworth

Biographies, Sketches and Rhymes

The following poems are included in a collection entitled Biographies, Sketches and Rhymes by the Calder Valley Poets [1916]

To my Sweetheart : Daniel Eastwood

O! those eyes, those charming eyes!
    And O! those ruby lips!
They've filled my heart with rapt surprise
    And quickened weary steps,
Ah! those smiles, those 'winsome smiles!
    They've charmed my throbbing heart,
And changed to yards those weary miles
    Which kept us two apart.
The path of life since I knew thee
    Has had a different charm;
Life's settled purpose now is free
    To keep thee from all harm.

The Good Old Days : Daniel Eastwood

We've seen some wonderful things in our time,
Whose merits have ne'er been recorded in rhyme,
So if of them I should venture to sing,
Don't call me a mean contemptible thing.

We've lived in a time which some never knew,
Whose charms and advantages surely were few;
And though we review them again and again,
'Tis only to see what they looked like just then.

We don't want to live on in actual life,
And see all the poverty go through the strife;
We've lived through it once and once is enough
For mortals to hunger, to battle, and rough.

To go to bed hungry, crying for bread,
Just after our evening prayers had been said,
Taught by a mother who loved us and said
"God bless you, my children," and tucked us in bed.

We practised daylight saving just then,
We couldn't afford tallow candles to burn;
So we'd to go indoors when the sun went down,
And into our little camp bed we'd turn.

We didn't sleep two in a bed then, you know,
Folks hadn't so many fine things for to show;
The bed was a round one, you might call it heaven
For we slept feet to feet until there were seven.

What wonderful dreams we had and how fine
Were the golden visions of the good coming time,
When again we should ever hunger for bread,
Just after our evening prayers had been said,'

Our Five : Daniel Eastwood

In Memoriam

It is but a short time since we Birchcliffe people bade farewell to five of our young men who had volunteered for ambulance work in South Africa. The news of the death, from dysentery, of Mr. G. H. Pickles, has cast an in expressible gloom over us. The following lines, written by the ex-President of the Y.M.C.A., are a brief record of the events:

Five of them – good stalwart men – 
We sent on a mission grand;
For the cannon's roar and din
We heard in a foreign land.
So noble, and brave and true.
They volunteered for the Front.
Christlike service there to do
For those who had borne the brunt.
With what bright hopes they went!
How hearty those meetings were,
As, all on one purpose bent.
We gave them a gladsome cheer!
And the crowds that gathered round
Caught the same spirit as well,
And mightier grew the sound
As cheer after cheer did swell.
'Twas many a tear filled eye
That looked on those gallant ones,
As we tried to say "Good-bye
Brave brothers and noble sons."
We pictured their safe return
Home from the battle of strife,
A still more glorious one
Than any they'd seen in life.
Alas! for our fancied joys
Were blighted by Death's rough hand:
They've buried one of our boys
Out there. in a foreign land.
Will the four return alright
Unto their homes again?
Jesus, we pray that they might,
Dear Saviour, we say Amen.

Moorland Ramble : Daniel Eastwood

More than a hundred strong to-day
    Over the moors we went,
For someone disputed our right of way
    When Stanbury way intent.

No favour we ask to walk this way,
    For here has been a path
O'er which old folks whose locks are grey
    Walked in their early youth.

Old Timmy we saw in his loom to-day:
    He's eighty-two and more;
He's often taken his walks this way
    Over this beautiful moor.

He's full of fun at eighty-two.
    His spirits are blithe and gay;
And he's the man who tells us true
    As a boy he walk'd this way.

"Palm Fair" had attractions then, you know,
    For youthful Stanbury boys;
And over this path they used to go,
    In the glorious good old days.

No one dare to interfere
    With the people's right just then,
Or they'd have caught it quite severe
    At the hands of stalwart men.

These walks are more to us to-day
    Than ever they were to them,
For the Brontë family hold a sway
    Over the hearts of men.

'Twas over these moors they cast their eyes,
    And over these paths they walked;
They've caught our ears with Glad surprise,
    'Twas wonderful talk they talked.

So as we walked these moors to-day.
    We are held with a double charm;
And who in the world shall ever say
    We are doing the slightest harm?

Much evidence more have we to give,
    But now is not the time;
'Tis ours to do, to act, to live – 
    Protect this pleasant shrine.

Shake hands across these lonely hills
    And claim these pleasant moors;
The right to walk, your lungs to fill,
    Throughout the coming years.

Grandchild-Reflections : Daniel Eastwood

The innocent look of a little child,
    White as the purest snow
Is enough to make a sinner wild
    As he lets his memory go
Back to the distant past,
    When he was pure as he.
Now bearing stains that ever last,
    That spoils what used to be
A life as sweet, as pure, as good
    As any life could be;
Conscious of all that might have been,
    Of deeds one might have done,
Have often marred the hours between
    The rise and setting sun
No idle dreams the heart can change
    For sin and folly (stains) 
Have written large their murky names
    On memories' window panes.

Three Lovely Vales : Major Wild

Crag Vale. Luddenden Dean & Hardcastle Crags

Avoca to Moore might the sweetest vale be,
But ye branches of Calder are dearer to me.
Happy days in your bosoms we spent:
Grand trio, Crag Vale, Ludd, and Hardcastle fair
Are as pleasant to me as to Burns was the Ayr:
To you are my thoughts often bent.
As I turn O'er the pages of memory's book,
On each one I see some serene little nook
In which, in the long ago days.
Perhaps I've nestled. or climbed the steep slopes of some hill,
While the skylark has mounted his chorus to trill
To heights far beyond my keen gaze
Way back in the book, fifty pages nigh on,
Of closely writ matter, of life's work well done.
Each page representing a year;
I can read of Crag Vale, and its once famous Spa,
When as lads in our clogs and our smocks we did go,
When the bright month of May did appear;
With bottles and Spanish, over Heathershelf Scout:
And how we have run and given many a shout,
Or p'rhaps of the edge we might peep
Of the cliffs; to shudder and gasp for our breath
Was natural; naught could have saved us from death
Had we fallen o'er the precipice deep.
We searched out the nest of the skylark and thrush,
And of others who build in the hedgerow and bush:
Climbed some tree, or damaged some wall,
Tormented some frog, p'haps, that lay in the ditch,
Or threw stones at some object far out of our reach:
Boys are boys – that is well-known to all.
We cut down the saplings, made stripes on the bark,
Not like Jacob of old, unborn cattle to mark;
We did it for pleasure not gain.
Emulation the prompter, the desire to excel
Our companions, and get them to say we'd done well;
While failure has oft caused us pain.
Then we've raced down the wood to the mineral spring,
Filled our bottles, and then felt as proud as a king;
Then we've played in the fields and the brooks.
And there heard the music, that charms us today
Played by Nature, as only nature can play,
From "scores" that we can't put in books,
And many a time, too, we have heard the same tune,
Both on dewy May mornings, and also in June;
Yea, in winter and summer, I ween;
When the hawthorn's been blooming, and winter's keen frost,
Has nipped us, as oft through Wade Wood we have crossed,
And wandered up Luddenden Dean.
And heard old John Preston, that Nomad so lone,
Proclaim Nature's beauties, while stood on a stone,
The firmament stretched overhead:
While his rhetoric's been sneered at, his preaching was true;
That John was no hypocrite, everyone knew:
'Twas proclaimed by the life that he led.
We botanised, too, with both Redman and Binns,
I know all its chapels, its church, and its inns.
Peaceful spot! Thou art dear unto me!
I've worked in thy mills, and I've lived in thy vale,
And remember the details of many a sad tale
That has happened dear valley in thee,
And consanguinity draws forth a tear.
When memory reverts to the forms once so dear
Who now in Death's arms calmly slumber.
And many's the hand one would Just like to shake,
And listen their voice again, ere we shall take
Our departure, to join that great number.
And thou, too, Hardcastles, thy lovely ravine,
1 love, too, as well as Crag Vale or the Dean
Of the Ludd; you are all of one stock,
And your mother, the Calder, noble old dame,
Has few rivals for beauty, and ne'er needs to shame
For the chips that have flown from the block.
O'er your pebbly beds the clear waters run
In the cool dewy evening or bright noonday sun,
Making music so sweet to the ear.
For Nature is harmony on a grand scale;
You can hear it on mountain, in woodland and dale.
And its notes are so distinct and clear.
And thou, lovely valley, how often in thee,
Have I lain 'neath the shade, of some noble old tree
And listened to Nature's grand strain.
The gurgling brook has the symphony played,
And the rustling leaves an accompaniment made,
While the birds have joined in the refrain.
And the wind from the moorland has swept down the glade,
Ere the purple-topped heather has grown on her head;
For of all three, 'tis that forms the crown,
On Turvin, or Boulsworth, or Midgley Moor;
When September comes in, there'll be no grander floor
Or a carpet so fine, you will own.
At Fly Flatts, or Widdop, or at the White House,
The homes of the starling, the pheasant, and grouse,
Refreshment and rest you will find:
A serenity, calmness, it peace and repose,
That the "polis" inhabitant dreams of nor knows:
To all these he is literally blind.
The long "Lithic" periods we plainly can trace
On the slopes of each vale, while writ on their face,
In a language that each can read.
Is Nature's grand story, in letters of gold,
Far surpassing in grandeur aught ever yet told
By man, whatsoever he's said.
And then your surroundings, why every name
Of town, hamlet, or village, still speaks of your fame,
Long, long ere man thought he could fly.
For Ludd was a sea-god, and Beckett's a saint – 
So mythology says; and our histories paint
Them as such, though we cannot tell why.
From the heights of Mount Tabor we gazed all a scene
Of field, wood, and moorland of purple and green,
As far as my eyesight could reach.
And the Crags of Hardcastles, and Robin Hood rock,
At the door of my memory imperiously knock.
To be heard in the sermon I preach.
Delightful the subject, the text is sublime:
Nor prose can exhaust it – it baffles my rhyme
Memory lovingly clings to it still.
'Tis bewitchingly sweet, and my mind it enchant."
Its place in my memory there's nothing supplants.
Cherished there? Yes, and always will.
My pen fails to tell all the beauties you have,
Nor, did I continue on this side the grave,
Could I ever sing half of your praise.
To say that you are lovely is far, far too weak
An adjective – not all that one ever could speak
A tithe of your glory conveys.
No wonder Avoca so insignificant seems,
That the banks of the Ayr seldom trouble my dreams,
When we've beauties like you so near home.
The Rhine's a delusion; foreign climes are a snare;
But they never tempt me, for there's none to compare
With you wheresoever I roam!

© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 16:22 / 12th October 2022 / 20741

Page Ref: MMC402

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