Ere long…



Wouldst that I could walk with you

Down verdant paths near forests deep

While buzzards hunt from lofty view

Nocturnal creatures gently sleep.


To silent ripples of narrow brook

Your gentle hand fills mine

A journey ere long undertook

My life with you divine.


And as we stroll in Nature’s thrall

My heart and yours as one

I cannot bear to think of times

When these such things are gone.



©Joe Wilson – Ere long… 2014


As always this is written for and to my beloved wife without whom
I would not wish to draw a single breath.

The emptiness…

He had searched for ten long years
always hopeful of finding the reason.

The reason she’d been taken from him
and why he always felt so alone.

Till one day he came to realise
that the memory of the feelings he’d had
were far far better and happier
than anything he could possibly hope to find.

He stopped looking
he got on with his life
no longer searching for a memory
and went about life with a new and fresh look.

He’d survived, and now he’d be alright.

The hole was still there
but for now at least
it was shored up
and he was functioning.

We can hope for more
even beg for more.

We’re lucky when that ‘more’ happens.

©Joe Wilson – The emptiness… 2013

The little red bike…

Just a little bit too big to be mine, but similar (1956)
Just a little bit too big to be mine, but similar (1956)


With legs pumping like mad, eager to keep up
While his pedals went around very slow
He ambled along giving me exercise
“Would you like me to slow down a bit Joe?”

But I pedalled along with all of my might
And I was keeping up, at least I thought
But an L-driver outside the driving school
Opened his door and brought me up short.

Into the road I flew off my little red bike
But a hand grabbed me and halted my fall
I think it was the L-driver who caught me
He had a handlebar moustache I recall.

Well they all made a fuss about something
And to the hospital I was told I must go
But the thing was I’d lost sight of my father
They watched amazed as I shot off shouting “No!”

In a time like forever I found my father
He was sitting, looking back, one foot down
As I raced up and sat still behind him
His faced changed from smiling to a frown.

It seems that my face was all covered in blood
I was desperate to catch up I didn’t realise
As he leapt off his bike and wrapped his arms round me
I said “Dad! Why are there tears in your eyes?”

The driver’s door had caught me just under the eye
I’d a gash of some length underneath
Being just seven years old I didn’t know why
Dad’s tears were his show of relief.


©Joe Wilson – The little red bike… 2014

When I wrote this I was thinking about my Dad. He never cycled with me too much. He became ill soon after I was born and died when I was just twelve.
I loved him so very much.


I remember…

I remember
back to a time
when the black dog
hung around my neck
like a heavy yoke, I
could never be rid of
the terror that it
would not someday return
to seek me out and strike
me down again, and the knowing
how close I had come to succumbing.

I remember edging closer to the crowded
platform’s edge, too filled with fear to realise
the probable selfishness of what I was about to
do, only vaguely aware of where I actually was, but
just able to register that touch on my right arm
and the voice that quietly whispered, “I don’t really think
you want to do that.” I remember turning to see who’d said it
and seeing that there was just a crowd of people. Of the owner
of the voice there was no sign, but it had been enough.
It had been enough to make me realise where I was,
for the moment passed and I made my way back.

Back to the arms of the woman who had always loved me,
and who had carefully, lovingly, nursed me back to health
over such a long time. I wept. I put my head on her gentle
shoulder and I wept as I had never wept before. I wept for all
I still felt, and I wept for all the selfish anguish I would have
caused this woman had I let myself fall,

for that surely had been my intention.

©Joe Wilson – I remember…2014

This experience is my own. It followed a period of severe depression after a
subarachnoid haemorrhage in 1986. Thankfully the depression eventually lifted and
has long gone.

My own personal hero…


The man who lived on the silver screen
Was never the real hero to me
For he was the man who worked the side-door
And let me and my Mum in for free.

Back in those days the heroes were many
Tex Ritter and Roy Rodgers were just two
The cowboy films shown were always the best
Watching those I never felt blue.

But the real hero for me was my granddad
Who attended the cinema side-door
He’d trained engineers till retirement came
And the side-door job helped a bit more.

There were stories of robbery and mayhem
Tales of magical mystery and fun
And we were always let in through the little side door
The moment the programmes had begun.

Everyone sat there in the darkness
Curtains opened and then the screen lit up
And as the sheriff rounded up all the bad men
Our hands were diving into big popcorn cups.

My granddad was as good as those cowboys
He took me to my first cricket match
I remember once when the ball flew at me
He put his hand up and made a good catch.

He served his country throughout the First War
As auxiliary he served through number Two
He was a fine man who everyone loved dearly
He did good things just like heroes do.

They don’t give medals for just being a granddad
They should do when they are the best
Now I have grandchildren of my very own too
I just hope that I too pass the test.


©Joe Wilson – My own personal hero…2014

The man to whom I refer was indeed my granddad and he took on this job for the reason I say. He did however, have an allowance to let two of his relatives in by the side-door on Wednesday afternoon in the school holidays. This is the time to which I refer.


A new start…

He walked down the length of that long lonely street
His footsteps tapping a short rhythmic beat
He encountered no one at that time of day
There was no one to stop him and have their say.

It was a dark three o’clock in the morning
As he wandered aimlessly along the road
But it wasn’t as if he had any place to go
He was only but another poor homeless Joe.

He was on the search for some food or scrap
New enough still to hate this poverty trap
Recently separated, he lost his job and his home
He now find’s himself on the road, where he roams.

He’s tried very hard to keep his dignity too
Not mixing much with the others who do
And he now walks about with an air of fake calm
Thinking that might protect him from coming to harm.

It had never occurred to him that he was always at work
His wife needed more, he understood that too late
Over years it had taken a hard marital toll
So she’d stepped away from him and he’d lost his role.

But he wouldn’t give in, he was determined about that
He desperately told himself every day
He couldn’t let himself live like this for long
He felt if he said so that he would remain strong.

His wife said she still loves him, despite that she left
He caused her such pain and he feels so bereft
But as long as she loves him it gives him some hope
He’ll fight his way back up this steep darkened slope.

He walked down the length of that long lonely street
You could hear a slight lightness to the short rhythmic beat
His eyes filled with tears as his wife filled his heart
Determined he walked on to make a new start.


©Joe Wilson – A new start…2014

A stolen heartbeat…



His death could oh so easily have been avoided
At eighteen he was far far too young to die
But the belief that lay within him was so powerful
Now his family have just the memories and they cry.

Men have always gone off fighting for their ideals
And their kinsfolk are the one’s put under strain
For the sickening news that often gets brought to them
Turns their once sun-happy days to ones of rain.

It doesn’t matter a single jot whose side they fight on
The resulting family heartache is still the same
There are those who would use these young men’s keenness
And exploit them in their own political game.

There’s a funeral now as another boy is laid down
And his family are beside themselves in grief
But governments have been this young man’s killer
Politicians stole his heartbeat like a thief.


©Joe Wilson – A stolen heartbeat…2014

The cruel hand of fate…

Things were very different in the Sixties
Everything was like new fresh breath
But this sad, true tale of my childhood
Is the tale of a friend’s early death.

Peter helped the Co-op grocers delivery-man
After he’d finished school for the day
He’d sit on an upturned milk crate
And they drove merrily along on their way.

He’d helped the man deliver for ages
It was what teenage boys would often do
But as the van took a corner in Rising Brook
Out to his sad fate Peter flew.

The van only had the single driver’s seat
No one else was supposed to be there
And the doors all slid back and stayed open
Safety wasn’t really thought about to be fair.

So out of the van my friend Peter flew
And fate treated him so very very cruel
He disappeared right under a passing bus
Right in front of the gates to his school.

My best friend was Harry, Peter’s brother
And for him everything changed on that day
I watched Harry wither before me
As his spirit of mischief flew away.

Just a few years later Harry drifted
I’ve not seen him from that day to now
But I hope he was able to find for himself
A way to survive the horror somehow.

I’ve not spoken of this since those dark days
and the flood of the memory is still raw
If only I could step back and warn him
My friend, please, please close the door.

By a sad twist of irony I lost my brother as well
He was struck down by the first ‘Asian Flu’
That memory hurts like a stab in the heart
I was twenty, he was just twenty-two.


©Joe Wilson – The cruel hand of fate…2014

Sadly, this is entirely true. Peter was killed falling under a bus in this manner and my brother was a recently married policeman who died of so-called ‘Asian Flu’ in 1970.

The scorn…

He always walks with head so bowed
Keeping from the other’s crowd
For he has shame and guilt to bear
And for mocking voices he doesn’t care.

He once bore arms and was a knight
But turned once he from noble fight
And now a coward brand bears he
Upon his face for all to see.

But none can know just why he turned
Why battle honour he had spurned
They cannot know the man he’d fight
His father, that was this man’s plight.

For father fought on evil’s side
A fight against their family’s pride
And now he bears this wicked scorn
His father’s sin, the family torn.

©Joe Wilson – The scorn…2014

No longer shy…

He was often a little shy round the opposite sex
His shyness caused so often his mates to be vexed
But this lady he decided he’d ask for a date
Though he fully expected a miserable fate.

So he asked her to dinner one summer long ago
And to his utter bewilderment she didn’t say no
They fell for each other and they talked all night long
And from that night on his heart filled with song.

Each Valentine’s Day he sends her a rose
He oft writes her poems or occasionally prose
His love no bounds nor does her love for him
Each feeling their hearts are filled to the brim.

No longer that shy like he was once before
They married and he carried her over the door
She bore him two children who they love oh so much
Their love so ethereal, bewildering to touch.

If ever you meet the person who makes your heart glow
And you’re both free to love, then perhaps let them know
You’ll both read the signs and then maybe it will be
That you too will have a life as happy as me.


©Joe Wilson – No longer shy…2014