About Ray Edwards



Growing up in London in the early 1950's my earliest recollections were coloured by memories of a life much quieter and calmer than seems possible now. World War 2 was not long over; people of other nationalities were a rarity; buses and trains would get you anywhere; the radio was the main national entertainment (I had a home made crystal set on the shelf over my bed); people read books for pleasure and relaxation and talked to each other with a genuine desire to connect; politicians were honourable people with a sense of responsibility and service; there was hope for what the future would bring and respect and fairness were predominant in joined up communities which took care to look after and look out for each other and their own families. Large numbers of people still went to church and Sunday School was the norm for young children. Church fayres and jumble sales were packed with people, and there was never much left afterwards.

Television (when it did arrive) was in small 9 inch screens and black and white only. There were no daytime programmes, no commercial channels, and no TV at all on Sunday nights after 6pm! Skiffle and jazz were the daring new music of the pre rock and roll era. Family Favourites, Children's Hour, the Goon Show, the Navy Lark, Beyond Our Ken, Listen with Mother, Workers' Playtime and Forces Favourites were listened to avidly. There were relatively few motor cars (and no motorways); even fewer households with a landline telephone (mobile phones had not been invented); there were two post deliveries per day - regularly - and policemen were there to protect the law abiding and not the human rights of those arrested! Winning the Football Pools was everyone's dream of making a fortune (and everyone supported a team somewhere). England did indeed seem a very green and pleasant land!

I read a wide and varied selection of books (often under my bedclothes at night, when I should have been going to sleep) ranging from science fiction (which is exactly what it was then - I remember the first Sputnik being launched by the Russians), historical accounts of Roman, Greek and English battles and campaigns, the Famous Five and Secret Seven, boys adventure stories, Billy Bunter, and the adventures of The Saint.

I was introduced to the wonders of the art world with my father being artistic and collecting a series of books about the great masters - full of wonderful colour pictures (I remember liking Rubens because he used a lot of red paint, Salvador Dali whose pictures were busy and outrageous, and Picasso who appeared to like a drink from the way he painted people). Many books then were still in black and white only, with the colour added by the reader's imagination. On the family bookshelf there was also a poetry book called The Golden Treasury, which I looked at occasionally and understood very little of - I seem to remember liking verses by Rudyard Kipling.

At school I was quite good at reading and spelling (I got progressively lazy as my school career reached its latter years). I moved up to Solihull when I was 11 years of age, and really felt as if my roots had been cut. My only sister stayed in London when we moved, and home life was never quite the same again.

My first real interest in writing poetry seemed to be ignited during family stays at a farm in Derbyshire during the autumn school half term holidays, and then only the odd verse here and there. I included two of these in my first book "7x7+7" to show my early inspirations. It was not until I became involved with the spiritualist church and went on a course at Cober Hill in Yorkshire in 2006 that things really began to happen. It was then that my meditations began to produce inspired verse in significant quantity - and so I was hooked!