John Dexter Jones

‘The Copper Thief’

My Great Aunty Eliza, who was born in the nineteenth century, published a poetry pamphlet called ‘Quiet Thoughts’ in the 1970s.

Eliza was my Nana’s eldest sister and she lived well into her nineties. I remember visiting her when I was very young. We’d go from Bae Colwyn to the far side of Manchester in Nana’s Daf 55 Variomatic, belt-driven car. That was an experience. Eliza was very small, gentle and kind, and had a big, friendly, furry white dog. I’ve got a feeling she lived in a place called Diggle in those days because I remember seeing a tunnel entrance, but that could be a trick of the mind. If it wasn’t Diggle it was Greenfield, and if it wasn’t Greenfield, it was Upper Mill. Eliza didn’t live in Mossley like many of that side of the family. What’s more, unlike the Mossley born-and-breds, she’d been born in Nottingham and then as a small girl moved to a place in Derbyshire called Fenny Bentley. Imagine living in Fenny Bentley and then Diggle. I hope it was Diggle. She wrote poems about childish pleasures, the beauty of nature, the coming of war and the love of God. That’s what she knew.

I found the pamphlet in the 1990s amongst some of my Nana’s stuff and didn’t give it much thought until one day, whilst in a ‘sorting’ mood some months ago, I happened again upon ‘Quiet Thoughts’. With a little time on my hands, I settled down to read it. It was during that reading that I fully understood what poetry actually is.

‘The Copper Thief’ is a collection of my poems. One day, if someone much younger than me finds a copy hidden between pictures of my family and books and maps, I hope they read it. If they only have a vague memory of me being tall and kind, with a small, black, shy cat, then ‘The Copper Thief’ will go some way to explaining the rest.

If you’d like to buy a copy, message me and I’ll tell you how.