Crosshands Cottage

Now as the dusk is drawing in
Around these weathered cottage walls
The birds sing out an evening hymn
Their last before the darkness falls
And carried on a gentle breeze
Which shimmers through the grass and trees
A haunting curlew calls.

Farmland and hills soon disappear
Shrouded beneath the cloak of night
And Springtime flowers held so dear
Are safely hidden from our sight
By day the golden tulip blooms
Reflect the warmth within these rooms
Now bathed in candlelight.

Comforting chair by fireside glow
When daylight struggles once more cease
Thoughts that surround us ebb and flow
More mellow as the flames increase
The fiery dance directs our gaze
Enveloped in the tender blaze
We find refreshing peace.

This Shropshire home is sleeping now
Beneath a starry, jewelled sky
While somewhere on a moonlit bough
A lone owl hoots his lullaby
And lying still we long to hear
Piercing the darkness plain and clear
Another bird’s reply.

Joanne Emery


I’ve only just rediscovered these wonderful lines. They were composed after the poet stayed at Crosshands with her family a few years ago. Written in a neat hand on a scrap of A4 they’d been┬átucked inside a book for safe keeping. And that’s where they might have stayed if I hadn’t been leafing through the book (by Clive James) for some inspiration. I hope you’ll agree it’s a cracking poem. And I like to think the Aussie wordsmith wouldn’t have minded keeping it safe all this time. But then I’m biased. The poet is my sister. Proving that our father, Brian’s, love of words rubbed off on both of us. Thank you Joanne, thank you Clive and thank you, most of all, dad.

Richard Uridge