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Picture 10265116, Mary Evans / Francis Frith

Westward Ho!
by Jeni Braund


More than these others you alone are home,
Where childhood’s sweetest fantasy took flight.
When shelter was denied a child and mother,
‘Twas you that took them in one moonlit night.

Did you bestow this gift of love, this yearning
Deep in the saddened heart of lonely child,
And know that all your loveliness and caring
Would invade her being, leave her heart beguiled?

That she would come again with love and gladness
And show her children secrets of her own;
Your rocky cliffs which once absorbed her sadness
And turned to joy and giving when full grown.

Your pebbled ridge, your sand hills and bleak burrows,
Each inch familiar, loved, remembered yet,
Beloved cliffs and green clad tors and lookout
Are part of life I never shall forget.


© Jeni Braund
Picture 10265116, Mary Evans / Francis Frith


Jeni Braund has been writing autobiographical poems since her childhood in the West Country during the 1940s and 1950s, with early titles including ‘Westward Ho!’ and ‘Child of the Sea’. Her childhood was free of modern-day restrictions, her playground being the cliffs, rocks, and beach that bordered her North Devon village home. Nursing, marriage, family life and a growing faith have also shaped her work, as have her Open University studies in Psychology and Comparative Religion. Her 40-year career in nursing began at the age of 17; during this period death and dying became a specialist subject following a six-week residential course at St Christopher’s Hospice studying under Dame Cicely Saunders. Here Jeni found her teaching vocation, developing courses for professional nurses. Her collection of poems, Heartlands, was published in 2016; all proceeds from the book go to the Anthony Nolan blood cancer charity for their lifesaving work.

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