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Poetry Pleases: To Winifred My Dear Wife

When John Ayling retired from full-time service as an Anglican minister he decided to write a poem every day for his beloved wife Winifred.

Some of these poems will now be appearing in Open Writing.

Four generations of the same family were reunited for the 99th birthday celebrations of the Rev Preb John Ayling.

Two years earlier John had received a birthday visit from the Bishop of Shrewsbury.

That weekend the congregation of Bicton village church also wished him many happy returns and Preb Ayling was allowed to give the blessing at the Sunday service which he said was the highlight of his day.

On retiring from full-time church work he and his wife Winifred went to live in Bicton. John then decided to write a daily poem for his wife.

Preb Ayling, who died some years ago, was born in 1902 and was ordained in Rochester Cathedral in September 1929.

In 1959 he became director of religious education for the Shrewsbury diocese, a prebendary of Lichfield Cathedral and rector of Myddle, retiring in 1970.

Open Writing will be publishing a number of John's poems in ensuing weeks.

Here is the first of them

To Winifred My Dear Wife

As lovely as sunset when draws near the night
And glowing like stars when heaven is bright
Is the love I feel for you my dear wife,
Who for seventy years has hallowed my life
With your presence; the gift of your love
Uplifting my heart a gift from above
Most precious, for which I ever give praise
To God who has always blessed all our days.
And so to you, my dear, on this great day
I bring my thanks, far more than words can say
For all the love and joy you bring to me
When you are here and ever helping me
Unwearied, helpless and old though I be.
Small wonder that I love you so dearly,
For you Sweetheart, are ever here with me.


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