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I Almost Found Jesus - a Poem by John Walker

Set in Crescent Avenue and Bourne Road when John was 16, and almost every word is true (except for the stable - he made that up!)

I Almost Found Jesus

One Christmas Eve, when just a kid,
I delivered the mail to earn a quid.
They'd take you on, the GPO,
and tell you where you had to go.
You never knew just where you'd get as
destinations for those letters,
But one year, I was glad to see
an area quite well-known to me!

My route took me through streets I knew: -
I was born in Crescent Avenue!
Then through the works, along Bourne Road,
each letter drop lightened my load.
My final stop - the stables at -
the Grange - so easy - that was that!
So six a.m. I'm there to pack
my letters, just like Santa's sack.

Then, Crescent Avenue's first to go,
trudging slowly through the snow.
At number one, there's Aunty Wyn,
who beckoned me to come right in:
"Coom in, ma duck, you must be froze
with all that snow around your toes.
Ah know what you need - I have some handy...
Now don't say no - it's damned good brandy!"

Then number 8 across the road,
an effort with my heavy load,
But sure enough, there's Aunty Phyl,
leaning out the window sill:
"Coom in, ma duck, you must be froze
with all that snow around your toes.
Ah know what you need - I have some handy...
Now don't say no - it's damned good brandy!"

The yellow street lights on the snow,
the Christmas scene that we all know,
I daydreamed, as I walked that day,
of Rudolph and that great big sleigh,
With Santa tugging on the reins.
The brandy coursing through my veins
Like antifreeze reduced my stress,
at each and every aunt's address.

In Bourne Road there was Aunty Beat,
who always kept her house so neat.
My postman's run was half-way through,
but she took pity on me too!
"Coom in, ma duck, you must be froze
with all that snow around your toes.
Ah know what you need - I have some handy...
Now don't say no - it's damned good brandy!"

And then I had Bourne Road to cross,
and who should call but Aunty Floss!
By now a little worse for wear,
I staggered in and grabbed a chair.
"Coom in, ma duck, you must be froze
with all that snow around your toes.
Ah know what you need - I have some handy...
Now don't say no - it's damned good brandy!"

But as I left, the strangest sight -
the sky was split - a blinding light!
It came in silence from the west,
as if this Christmas Eve was blessed.
If I had heard the angels sing,
it would have seemed a normal thing!
My final stop, at half past four,
to knock upon that stable door.

I've never been religious but
with all that brandy in my gut,
The snow, the light, the stable too;
could it all be coming true?
But there, in letters bold and clear,
was "Closed for Xmas - back next year!"
So, disappointed, home I went,
and pondered on this strange event.

No Telegraphs in Christmas week,
no mention of that skyward streak.
Until the news of Barwell's scare;
the meteorite that landed there.
No angels and no virgin birth -
a lump of rock that fell to earth!
But one thing that I got to know -
It's how to keep warm in the snow!

John Walker

Bourne Road c1970 Bourne Road c1970, with the thriving Stoke GEC plant at the far end, where young John delivered some of that Christmas mail.

 
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