My walk today took me past a beautiful Blackthorn hedge where the blossom was light and frothy.
Coming home, I came across a steam roller, only it wasn’t steam driven, of course, but I was reminded of how I loved to watch the steamroller at work smoothing out the surface and of the glorious smell of tarmac!
It is 100 years since the birth of Charles Causley this year (24th August) and tonight I am going to a celebration of his work. I used many of his poems when I was teaching and they were always well received by pupils. This was a particular favourite. As Causley himself said, this was about a real boy – and I find it saddening that there are still children living in poverty in our country today.
Timothy Winters comes to school
With eyes as wide as a football pool,
Ears like bombs and teeth like splinters:
A blitz of a boy is Timothy Winters.His belly is white, his neck is dark,
And his hair is an exclamation mark.
His clothes are enough to scare a crow
And through his britches the blue winds blow.When teacher talks he won’t hear a word
And he shoots down dead the arithmetic-bird,
He licks the patterns off his plate
And he’s not even heard of the Welfare State.
Timothy Winters has bloody feet
And he lives in a house on Suez Street,
He sleeps in a sack on the kitchen floor
And they say there aren’t boys like him any more.
Old man Winters likes his beer
And his missus ran off with a bombardier.
Grandma sits in the grate with a gin
And Timothy’s dosed with an aspirin.
The Welfare Worker lies awake
But the law’s as tricky as a ten-foot snake,
So Timothy Winters drinks his cup
And slowly goes on growing up.
At Morning Prayers the Master helves
For children less fortunate than ourselves,
And the loudest response in the room is when
Timothy Winters roars “Amen!”
So come one angel, come on ten:
Timothy Winters says “Amen
Amen amen amen amen.”
Timothy Winters, Lord.
To quote Causley himself “People always ask me whether this was a real boy. My God, he certainly was. Poor old boy, I don’t know where he is now. I was thunderstruck when people thought I’d made it up! He was a real bloke. Poor little devil.”