The Bedouin tribesman comes and goes
through land so sparse, that little grows
and yet he knows he will survive,
for here, one’s senses come alive.
On beasts of burden they ride high
like clouds that drift across the sky,
I hold them briefly in my gaze,
then lose them in the desert haze.
What measure of man walks through this land,
a minute speck upon the sand,
with sweeping robes and covered head,
’tis by their instincts they are led,
silently passing to and fro,
shimmering in the sun’s fierce glow.
Their camels I can scarce define
travelling in a single line,
a noble creature, full of depth,
one to be treated with respect,
but then the Bedouin wandering free,
have respect for all they see.
Bold and fearless though they are
they view another from afar
yet even strangers, rough and crude,
are welcomed to partake of food,
though little tolerance is earned
if this respect is not returned.
Suddenly now, the sun has gone
and cold creeps swiftly ’round each one,
the silver moon lights up a scene
that bears resemblance to a dream.
I raise my head and stand in awe
gazing up at Heaven’s door.
I see a trillion stars so bright,
sparkling jewels of the desert night,
spreading out through endless space,
oh what beauty haunts this place.
I hear the silence, quite intense,
I view the landscape . . . ’tis immense.
What grandeur lies around me here,
I am so small within this sphere,
for though a man, I am but nought,
compared to all that Nature’s wrought.
The desert holds me in her spell
and thus it is that I can tell
of how the Bedouin thus survive,
their inner being, alert, alive!
They are a people proud but true
who feel a part of all they view,
no great possessions tie them down
for freedom is their greatest crown
. . . a nomad, who at will can roam,
the desert being his vast home,
forever moving o’er the land,
a tiny speck, upon the sand.
Sometimes it is so comforting
to let ourself be led
to find those days from long ago,
hidden in our head,
to take a little journey,
back down Memory Lane
and dwell upon the happy times
. . . enjoying them again.
Sweet memories are precious,
a gift for when we’re old
and once we start to think on them
such stories will unfold,
just sweep away the cobwebs
hiding them from view
and truly you will be surprised,
at the joyfulness brought through.
Our minds can be so cluttered
with the worries that we store,
we need to stop and clear them out,
refresh our thoughts once more,
recall only the happiness
which in your life you’ve known,
chase out the sadness you have kept,
its misery disown.
Think of those lazy, hazy days
of summers filled with fun,
when folk were kind and truthful
and neighbours knew each one,
remember listening to the wireless
on sunny afternoons
and you’ll find yourself now humming
those lovely well-known tunes.
Their melodies still linger,
what upliftment they can bring,
they set my senses soaring
and help my soul to sing,
life seemed to be much simpler then,
small pleasures meant much more,
like children walking to the park
with cricket bat and ball.
Days playing in the sand dunes
with a picnic bag nearby
and watching coloured kites
as they fluttered in the sky.
These are the kind of memories
it is so good to keep,
exciting bus and train rides home
and nodding off to sleep.
I remember family evenings
when the curtains were all drawn
and Dad would tell us stories
from a book with pages worn,
while we sat on the hearth rug
as the fire blazed away,
sending out more shadows
on the wall to dance and sway.
Then waiting quite excitedly
as Mum cut chunks of bread,
to be placed upon the toasting fork
– for supper, before bed.
Why, even as I think of this
my tastebuds start to flow,
for I can smell the hot toast now
and feel the coal fire’s glow.
We all can draw such memories
from deep within our mind,
memories to make us smile
as gently we unwind.
They can bring such pleasure
in a peaceful, calming way,
helping us relax
and let our worries slip away.
Perhaps by sharing mine
you’ll find sweet memories of your own,
those memories forgotten,
that need to be regrown,
they truly are a blessing,
there to cheer you on,
those happy thoughts of yesteryear,
of days now long since gone.
This is a Paperback with 158 pages containing poems on various subjects. Some tell stories and tales while others share memories of far-off days. These are interspersed with nature poems, again on varying themes. The average length of these poems is four pages, some being less, with one Tale covering twelve pages and another twenty-one. One of the Stories has thirty-six pages.
Included in this book are five coloured pictures relating to five different poems. These are to be found on various pages, while on the inner back page are some coloured butterflies.
I have always loved the countryside with the many varied creatures, trees and flowers. I was very fortunate in that from an early age, my brother and I were encouraged to learn about the great outdoors. To me it has always been a wonderful place, a magical place. As a child I enjoyed the woodlands, fields and hillsides where we could play, together with the sparkling streams and meadows.
I found the birds and animals fascinating, from sparrows and robins to swallows and skylarks, from tadpoles and frogs to caterpillars, butterflies and grasshoppers, from the rabbits in the fields to the squirrels in the treetops. They were . . . and still are, very special to me.
I hope, when you have a quiet moment, that with an open mind you too will enjoy the following Stories, Tales and Memories.
So please relax and join with me in the innocent escapism of a Story from the unknown, or the excitement of an interesting Tale. Perhaps the Memories I have shared with you will bring back happy times from your own past . . . and the Nature poems bring you upliftment.
Sincerely, Valerie A. Lancaster
Here is a mixture of Stories, Tales and Memories, all written in verse, together with Nature poems scattered in between. This is a ‘sister-book’ to “Walking on a Rainbow”.
The fictional stories and tales cover different parts of the world and are about a mixture of peoples from past civilizations and different cultures. The memories come from times long gone while the nature poems speak of the beauty of the natural world.
This book has been put together in the hope of bringing the wonder of Nature, the joy of past Memories, the excitement of a Tale and the magic of a Story, alive to those who can find a quiet moment to sit and enjoy them.
Just the Tale of the Lady Caroline
Just Living Memories
Just Stories from Egypt . . . Mu the Temple Cat
Just Ocean Frolics
Just Sharing Memories of Days Long Gone
Just a Tale from Mother Nature – The Wild Geese
Just Stories from India . . . The Ganges
Just a Mare and her Foal
Just Memories to Recall
Just Stories from the Wilderness . . . The Bedouin Tribesmen
Just a Tale from the Woodland – A Forest Being
Just Butterfly Days
Just Precious Memories
Just Stories from Egypt . . . Secrets of the Desert
Just Nature’s Woodland Theatre
Just Memories of an Old Garden Shed
Just the Story of a Stream
Just a Tale from the Past – Childhood Adventures
Just the Seasons of Time
Just Stories from the Wilderness . . . The Aborigine
Just a Blossoming of Memories
Just the Beauty of Water
Just Stories from Egypt . . . The Ancient Pyramid
Just an Interesting Tale – A Mixture of Thoughts
Just Memories from the Past – The Roman Gladiator
Just the Spirit of Morning
Just the Story of Christabel . . . Part III
Just Sweet Memories
These days I’m loathe to call myself an avid reader. It feels too fast, too voracious, as if I must consume copious volumes at speed in order to claim the label as mine. It has, to my mind, become synonymous with modern consumerism; we mass-produce books as we do cars, food, clothing… It pushes us to read as fast as possible rather than to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the words in front of us.
That is not how reading should feel. A good book is a chance to journey away from our everyday life, to escape from our worries and let our minds rest awhile.
It’s hard sometimes to do that – to let everything drift into the distance so we can dwell within the world on the page – but Valerie A. Lancaster’s “Just Stories and Poems” grants a rare opportunity to do so.
Butterfly Days and Walking on a Rainbow are indeed sister-books in every sense. For whilst one can be known and loved without the other, seeing them side-by-side makes both their commonalities and uniqueness apparent. In each are stories and experiences, told in rhyme, of the wonder of the seasons, the sunrise, a walk in the woods. There’s magic, too, in the memories of childhood adventures and the lifetimes of those far away from us in place and time.
Each story has a heartbeat, slow and gentle, that captivates me until the story is told, and then carefully releases me so I can return to my reality, replenished.
Valerie Lancaster is a housewife with three children and five grandchildren. She has been married for fifty-one years to her husband Bern and they live in a small village just outside Southport in Lancashire. They both enjoy hiking together out in the countryside, through woodlands, along streams and across hillsides. In the past they have climbed all the highest peaks in England and in the Scottish Highlands, but now their walks are more low-level. Valerie loves Nature, with all her creatures and beautiful scenery.
She started receiving inspirational poems, stories and philosophy over twenty years ago and has had eleven small “Just Poems” books printed. “Just Butterfly Days” is her second published paper-back and e-book and is the sister book to “Just Walking on a Rainbow“.
Up until 2009 Valerie and her husband coached and ran Gymnastic Clubs for children. They did this for fifty years on a totally voluntary basis and in 2006, they were both amazed to each receive an MBE for their services to youth.