Published on April 8th, 2021 | by All Things Warrington0
‘Heaven in Warrington’ by Arthur Bennett
Sweet bells of God, within my garden ringing,
From the tall spire above the churchyard grey,
I seem to hear the distant angels singing –
How near to Heaven seems all the world to-day!
Even here, awhile, the still skies are unclouded,
From yonder chimneys no black nightmares come,
Still are the busy streets so lately crowded,
The roar and clamour of the town is dumb;
And, quite regardless of fierce Mammon’s voices,
The dear birds chirp and twitter in the boughs –
Ah! how I love their cheery flute-like voices,
The unsought minstrels of my little house.
And like a sunbeam on the lawn my laddie –
Never was golden sunbeam half so fair –
Creeps up with tender words to kiss his daddy –
Heaven guard his blue eyes and his golden hair!
And in the shade of the old arch his mother
Forgets her book to fondly turn to him:
In all God’s world was ever such another?
Or are all children baby-cherubim?
I think that they have wings – O Heavenly Father
Grant the darlings may not fly away
Until, at last, at eventide we gather
In the bright realm “more beautiful than day.”
Meanwhile, even here in the old church’s shadow,
On the soft grass, content, I lay me down
I do not need to cover Eldorado,
For Heaven is here, right in the smoky town.
Arthur Bennett (1907)
About Arthur Bennett (1862-1931)
Arthur Bennett packed a lot into his 69 years. Hailing from Padgate (where a field with his name still exists in the shape of ‘Bennetts Rec’) he overcame a childhood illness to become what one contemporary called ‘Warrington’s second greatest citizen’.
His achievements suggest he deserved this accolade: poet, politician, mayor (1925-27), magistrate, historian, visionary – all are words that can justly be associated with Arthur Bennett.
Although a chartered accountant by trade, words as well as numbers featured heavily in his life. He was a prominent member of a number of cultural/literary organisations including the Warrington Poetry Society (founding member), the Padgate Wesleyan Mutual Improvement Society (secretary), the Warrington Literary and Philosophical Society (chairman), the Warrington Society and many more.
He also founded two magazines dedicated to encouraging civic improvement and the arts and oversaw the purchase and dedication of many open spaces, such as Victoria Park and Queens Gardens, for the use of the general public. Seven volumes of his work were published – ‘The Music of My Heart’, ‘Sunrise – Songs’, ‘A Midnight Fantasy’, ‘Dawn – Songs & Other Poems’, ‘Love Songs to my Wife’, ‘Songs in the Darkness’ and ‘Songs of a Chartered Accountant’.