Alex Robson’s (The Bard of Stratford Grove West) poems seem to divide into three broad types: celebrations of nature and the world around him; commemorations of people or events; patriotic verse.
Thanks to Alex’s grandson, Chris, and his wife, Janet, we have a number of very special copies written in his own hand and dedicated to members of his family.
Here are more of Alex Robson’s poems that broadly represent his work.
CELEBRATIONS OF NATURE
Britain Calling (March 1933)
Placid lochs and stately mountains,
Winding paths and sylvan glens –
Dreamy woods and whisp’ring valleys,
Fragrant moors and flow’ry fens,
Breathe the name of beauteous Nature
Thro’ a heart that knows no rest,
Calling, seeking to caress you,
To the bosom God has blest.
Nature, sweet enchanting Nature,
Bless’d with joyful heart and true,
Comes expressing living beauty
In an ever changing hue:
Virgin frills becoming springtime,
Summer robes of beaten gold,
But express the wondrous glory
Fairy arms so oft enfold.
Nature lends her heart to Britain,
Where she wanders day by day,
Thro’ each meadow, wood and valley,
By each mountain, loch and brae,
And thro’ her proud Britain’s calling
Those who seek a foreign host,
“Some embrace the British beauties!”
Which indeed have charmed me most.
Twilight (November 1929)
Across the sky with outstretched wings
Of ev’ry colour blest,
A mystic bird of paradise
Is speeding to the west,
Upon its wings the night gods ride
To yonder burning glade,
That they might crowd and give to earth
That sweet magenta shade.
If I Were King (November 1934)
If I were King of Winter-land,
I’d rule with frost and snow,
With something like a High Command –
A Sovereign Right; and so
Instead of dull, damp foggy days
I’d squander lots of wealth,
To give you snow and ice – you know –
The sort that’s rich in health.
I’d kill foul air, at any cost!
I’d bid my heralds sound
A “Royal Salute” for bold Jack Frost –
Indeed I’d spread around
A rich white carpet, soft and thick,
That he might come to you,
And lay his treasures at your feet –
That would be something new.
In Memoriam (commemorating the death of Queen Alexandra – 1 December 1925)
Alas, dear England, how my heart is moved,
Since heaven’s breath absorbs the flowing tears,
Shed by the great, the humble and the poor
For one whose soul a worldly heart endears.
Oh, England, ‘neath thy mournful veil ‘tis I –
A subject who would humbly kneel me down,
The while the dawn awakes a heav’nly home.
And God bestows a greater, brighter crown.
Far, far across each wide and boundless sea,
‘Twas lighting flashed, the solemn news to spread,
Till Empire stood in hushed solemnity
And visualised the spirit of the dead.
Oh, England, I am nearer, nearer thee,
With patriotism clothing we anew;
And something rising from my innermost soul,
Confesses much I felt I never knew.
‘Tis such as this which draws from stagnant pools
The bubble of a pure and crystal stream;
And loyalty, one’s pride would feign disown
Makes clean the heart compelling pride redeem.
The bubble, multiplied by many more,
Soon bids a sea its living waters roll,
And ev’ry wave is but the heart and voice
Expressing sorrow o’er a Priceless Soul.
Our Wedding Day (to his wife celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary, May 1938)
Another year of perfect bliss
Has urged my heart to pen you this;
A tribute to your own dear heart
In which I’m proud to share a part.
And may the God who made you mine
Continue long this love divine –
And spread in no uncertain way,
The sun that always bless’d this day.
The Wolves of Hades (published at the outset of World War 2 – December 1939)
One day the tongues of hungry wolves
Shall lick their own bones dry;
And trembling curse the fatal hour
When wolf by wolf shall die.
That day has come! And now unleashed
Are “Bull-dogs bred of old-
Nor leashed again until we know
The last mad brute is cold.
Far worse than Hell’s vile treachery,
This last infernal burst,
E’en shocked the powers of Hades,
And made the bull-dog thirst;
Thirst with the courage – and the will!
To play them at their game;
To fight with unstained jaws – and teeth –
Long gripped by acts of shame.
Oh, Poland, in your hour of need,
Comes Britain to your side,
And with her faithful neighbour
Shall stem the bloody tide.
And may the God who gives them breath
Give faith unto their cause,
Nor cease till men shall live in peace,
Till earth be rid of wars.
Till Hell shall flog its own fierce beasts,
And scatter in the dearth,
The remnants of the super haunts
That housed the scum of earth.
Till God shall smile on all mankind,
And souls rejoice on high,
As phantom legions tell of beasts
Who licked their own bones dry.
The Man of Destiny (dedicated to Winston Churchill May 1943)
When ill-prepared and menaced
And deadly war-clouds spread,
And nations fell despondent
Or trampled o’er their dead,
He li the lamp of trials,
And cast aside the mask
And bared our faces to our fate,
Nor trembled at the task.
He saw our cities burning,
Our meagre forces trapped,
But set the wheels aturning,
Till every field was tapped:
Till men and women – old and young –
Were wrought to finished steel;
Till hearts, unscathed, did forge the link
That bound the common weal.
Till in the faith of he who bore –
Who carries still – the load,
Who promised nought yet led them thro’
Each dark dramatic road,
They’ll march unwavering by his side
Long brighter roads ahead.
Till he has netted eve’ry fiend,
And ev’ry fiend is dead.
Then let us pray that he might live
To see the world made free,
And feel the joy of all who knew
The Man of Destiny.
Read more about Alex Robson here
I’ve always maintained that for every creative individual who attains public acknowledgement, there must be several hundreds more whose endeavours are abandoned or lost. What a fine poet. As was stated, our Heaton has more than its fair share of talented folk of all ages; let’s make sure we herald those we know whenever we can. Well done Michael and thank-you.