Monday 13 November 2023

Wroth Silver 2023: In the Picture, Making History

There they are, over a hundred years ago
In their flat caps, bowler hats, bonnets & a stovepipe
Standing round the stone in unusual daylight
Making history.

Schoolboys in striped caps, a lady with a feather stole
A constable, a father, a grandad & a farmer
Came to pay Wroth Silver on Martinmas Eve
Came to make history.

Men outside The Dun Cow, in their big boots & waistcoats
In alpha male stances with their glasses in their hands
& their long stemmed pipes & their serious expressions
Making history.

Look, a crowd gathered under the lone pine tree
Before there was a hedge & a lorry load road
Some came on their bicycles all the way from Coventry
To make history.

& back in the pub, all sat round for breakfast
With a collie dog wagging its tail under the table
The ubiquitous church wardens make an interesting composition
Make it history.

Now this lot here, are wearing their Sunday best
At Knightlow Cross, in early November?
Another really posed one, taken in broad daylight
But still they’re making history.

At last we have a photo that was taken before dawn
That woman in the headscarf must be very tall
& that smart looking young man in a dark overcoat
He’s definitely making history!

& there’s Bill Quarterman & Mr. Camping with the charter
A schoolboy & a lady in a bright chequed coat
In the background, my predecessor Victor the Poet
He certainly made history.

Here’s Mr. Sparrow in his waxed estate jacket
Who raised a twinkle in the eye of the Queen
The mayor in his scarlet robe, Doc with a video camera on a stick & William Waddilove
Making history.

There’s David on the eightieth anniversary of his attendance
& Gill & Anne counting the money afterwards
When we had moved to the Queen’s Head in Bretford for our breakfast
Now even that is history.

& here’s a dark blurry one walking down the road
Of early morning twilight & headlight smears
The first time that I came here, not so long ago
We were all colts once
Whatever hats
Whatever boots
Or means of transport we prefer
Whatever may be going on in the wide world
We’re still in the picture
Making history.


My tenth year of serving as the Wroth Silver Bard! It is a great honour & a pleasure. To read my previous Wroth Silver poems & find out more about this unique & ancient event follow these links:
2014: Martinmas
2015: The Road of Time
2016: Wheel of the Year, Wheel of the Land
2017: Eight Decades
2018: Ghosts
Throw a Penny in the Hollow of the Stone 
2020-21 Dear Ancestors
2022: The End of an Era

If you visit my other poems you will see many of the old photos which I mentioned in my poem this year. The title of last year's poem was made poignant by the choice to stand down of David Eadon as the main organiser of the event, a role which he took up in 1967. He attended Wroth Silver a total of 85 times. Here he is as a young man in a dark overcoat, second from the left, in 1951, as mentioned in the seventh stanza of my poem.


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