The Lane and Willey Green
(1940 - 45)
C.M. Gaines.

Home was Rose Cottage
when I was just a boy,
in the lane where I tasted
both sadness and joy.
To write of the lane
I must first set the scene,
as it begins its short journey
from old Willey Green.

Twisting and turning
in a way that does please,
it follows a brook past
lush meadows and trees.
Great oaks and tall elms
reached up to the sky,
which the boys of the lane
compete to climb high.

The meadow out of bounds
to the children at play,
a churlish old farmer
would chase them away.
Long summer evenings
at the end of the day,
double summer time
keeps the darkness at bay.

The lane ends its journey
on its way to Crooks farm,
at the common where in summer
the travellers would come.
Their caravans and horses
cavalcade up the lane,
until the police; make
them move on again.

The tragedy and triumph
of our country at war,
the loss of a loved one
the telegram at the door.
Medieval cottages
mix with houses quite grand,
both the rich and the poor
all together did stand.

The Spitfire and Hurricane
fight the Hun to the death,
valour in the air as the
world holds its breath.
The wail of the siren
brings a sharp pang of fear,
then blessed relief
at the sound of All Clear.

Rose cottage becomes a haven
for family and friends,
whose homes have been blasted
and are at their wits end.
Food becoming scarce now
and rationing hard to bear,
belts are being tightened
as we eke out our share.

Roads are now swarming
with truck, tank and gun,
things are looking up now
the enemy is on the run.
But the price is very heavy
as tragedy strikes The Lane,
a child is dead beneath a truck;
his family reap the pain.

Enemy prisoners in the field
help gather the harvest in,
these sons of mother Italy
now anxious that we win.
Then comes the day of victory
celebrations paint the scene,
a joyful day for everyone
in the Lane and Willey Green.

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