Poems for Reflection
and Discussion -
For Secondary Schools
By Josie Whitehead
By Josie Whitehead
Brought up as a child in the war years,
I longed to see distant countries.
Beyond the shores of this small island
What could await me in the world?
Lands where the sun shone warm
From high up in blue cloudless skies? –
Mountains, whose peaks tore
To shreds those soft billowing clouds?
How I longed for those beaches
Where the soft sand would caress my toes;
Where the salty waves would break
In endless streams over golden beaches.
I pondered about languages and cultures
Which were different from my own
Where I could step from adolescence
Into adulthood - perhaps unnoticed?
Oh for freedom and independence
That would sublimely initiate me
Into that world where I could be
My own identifiable person.
I would be enthroned in this world
Where my choices would be my own,
Not the guided and supervised choices
Made for me by my loving parents.
Oh, but those far distant green pastures
Are often not what we think they are.
With liberty there comes the feeling
Of, perhaps, becoming too detached to cope.
I think that we are like young birds who,
Knowing that they must take that first flight,
Tentatively gaze at what they must face below.
'Will our small feathered wings support us?'
Then we say 'J u m p' . . . and it is done.
Copyright on all my poems
My first 'pastures green' was as a teacher of secretarial work in JERSEY, Channel Islands. Lovely. After 3 years, Jersey was not big enough for me and so I emigrated to Vancouver, Canada. It was one week on the Empress of England from Liverpool to Montreal and then 3 days and nights on the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada to Vancouver. I was there for one and a half years, returning to England to marry. That was a long time ago (1966) when there were but few aeroplanes, so it was a big adventure. With secretarial skills and teaching certificates, it was easy to get work anywhere.