“Writing poems is not work, it’s an absolute joy” says Ema Fields from Bolingbroke Deanery. The name may not ring a bell to her fellow church goers as that is her ‘nom de plume’ and, as a writer, she prefers to remain anonymous.

Ema started writing poems at the age of seven and is a published author of a book of poetry with another in the pipeline.  Later her novel was published and  there is another work of fiction awaiting completion.  An early source of inspiration were the nuns in her convent school.  Ema fondly recalls the stories they used to tell her of when they were young. “They were brilliant and the nuns, Mother Vincent and Mother Aquinas, became fictional characters in my book, not that they ever knew this!” she said.

From this early start, Ema has used her love of words and grammar throughout her life; as a teacher as a young woman and in the preparation of technical and scientific documents  later in her career.

“I can’t just make poems up, I have to feel them and be inspired, so I write them as and when things happen in life – the highs as well as the lows” she said. “When I hear that someone is in trouble I like to write something which I hope will help them. I get some wonderful feedback, such as that they have been moved to tears, which is very touching for me to hear. 

“I feel driven to write and have many, many poems. Some are always work in progress, as I may go back six months later to edit them, as one can always make tweaks to make something better.”

When reading poetry Ema likes the ‘old poets’ – Wordsworth, Byron and Keats. For a book she most enjoys novels set in the Victorian era, notably Jean Plaidy. “I love stories about how life was in centuries gone by and a good writer really takes you there” Ema said. “I remember writing a poem about a cottage about 40 years ago and when I came to look at my current house I got this very strange, cold feeling like I had been there before, because it was just as I had described it in my poem even though I had made it up” she said.

Her faith is important to her and as soon as she moved to the area she said she “needed to find a church” and she has been a member there for many years. “I have a deep feeling and faith and it’s very important to me. I really couldn’t do without it. As soon as I went to the church I knew I was meant to live here. I have an urge to help people. I think that being kind, caring and giving are central to, hopefully, trying to be a Christian.

“I have had a lifelong love of English and grammar.  It’s very satisfying searching for the right words to say something. When you see the impact that your words can have, the emotional reaction, its completely humbling. I believe I have been given a gift from God and it is something that I treasure every day.”

My Sanctuary by Ema Fields

I pass through the portals                               

the great carved arched door                         

and imagine the old folk                                

who have walked through before.                  

I glance up above                                           

eyes glistening with love                               

to where celestial choirs                                

of children have sung.                                   

I stand here alone

'midst the cold, grey stone,                                                    

though now stark and bare

its beauty remains unimpaired.                      

I stand here alone                                           

in God's own home,                                       

as his presence I feel                                      

it is reverence to kneel.                                  

This historical retreat                                     

that I love so much,                                        

the stations of the cross                                 

that I lovingly touch.                                      

The sacred altar is simple,                             

the scent of flowers fills the air,                    

old threadbare linen, immaculate,                  

from many hours of loving care.                    

A silent prayer offered                                   

as at the altar I kneel,                                     

I sense a strange but spiritual aura,                

so intense and ethereal.                                  

I light a lone candle,                                       

a candle of prayer                                          

to the Blessed mother and infant                   

who bide with me there.                                 

Just a solitary candle                                      

with soft light it glows                                   

where once myriad candles burned               

long years ago.                                               

The Chalice is gleaming,

there stands the old wooden Cross

to remind us that our Dear Lord

suffered and died for all of us.

The worn, ancient pews

each fashioned with care

by the hands of old craftsmen

who once laboured there.

At this beautiful church

in wonder I gaze,

with its battle-scarred stonework                               

now mellowed with age.

An errant tear slips

down my saddened face

for a long since treasured

bygone age.

Here, where I feel at peace,

here, where serenity reigns,

here, where I find release

from the world and all of its pain.

I will go now outside

and walk tree shaded grounds

where the founders of this church

sleep peacefully sound.

The weathered old stones

sunken deep in the earth                                

each add to its beauty

for 'tis nature's own work.

The sun fading fast

sinks low in the west,

ancient stone bathed in crimson,

perfect peace, so picturesque.

Dear battered old church

we will take care of you

through many a long century

you've stood steadfast and true.

Standing battleworn and weary

our heritage you own

and with God's help you'll stand

for centuries to come.

For 'tis here I feel safe,

here where I feel no hurt,

I am free from all harm

in this Blessed old church.