A Man came out of Nottingham,
Belloc’s sodden and unkind Midlands,
And with healing hands and heart
He cared, along with Luke.
Four hostages to fortune had he,
Inspired by their joy and his loving,
To the sad, the lonely and unfortunate
He dedicated most of his loving care.
The woman he loved was with him,
And he made an awesome gift of love,
Unable to love till the end of time
She closed her heart and mind to him.
Yet he was with elements so mixed
Nature might stand and say to all the world,
‘This was a man to live among men’.
And he cared for all children mightily.
He came to a land far from home,
With scorn in his heart for a woman
He knew was cold, callous, hard hearted,
Tough, ruthless, efficient and cruel.
She had done nothing to merit such hate,
Bar unable to suffer fools gladly,
For the children she loved, best only would serve.
He said her man was tops, so she bore his distaste.
‘Be creative’ he ordered her,
‘Make lopsided pots and foolish ashtrays’.
But incompetence made her unhappy,
And all she was good at was giving and loving.
‘Then write’ he said,’write stories and poems’.
But when everyone needed her care and help
What time did she have for herself?
‘Make it’ he said, ‘you need to create’.
Four glorious children she had created,
Not a drop out, druggie or drunk amongst them,
Tall, straight and honest Australians,
But ‘prove yourself worthy of him’.
That cruelty untouched by pity,
That savage dislike of her works
She accepted, and hoped to please him,
By counting the money he raised.
‘Everyone feels as I do’ he told her,
‘Your friends are false friends and untrue.
There is no support for your actions.
You must go – for the sake of the children’
She had laboured so long in the vineyard,
Her efforts had borne heady fruit,
Yet with every man’s hand against her –
What can she do but resign.
I don’t know enough of the detail, however I suspect that some of this may be a reflection on her exodus from Save the Children Fund, which was not a happy ending. Yet what I do know of the detail doesn’t sit well with the whole poem, and my suspicions may be unfounded.