Tuesday, 27 May 2014


 A classmate of mine, Coleen Heathwood, who has had four books published sent me this poem she wrote recently after attending the Australian Celtic Festival at Glen Innes. About a hundred pipers paraded up the street and stopped in front of the Town Hall, played a few songs and then a lone piper played Amazing Grace which Coleen said, sent goosebumps up her spine especially when the rest of the pipers joined in. She saw an old man in front of her wiping his eyes with his hanky and she was deeply touched and out of that moment came this poem. 


He took his crumpled hanky and wiped sad tears away.

They were seeping down his old cheeks and the day was cold and grey.

A lone piper played Amazing Grace.

That's when tears crept down his face.

Then a hundred Celtic pipers joined in that old hymn.

That's what finally did this old man in.

Too many memories filled his head.

Too many loved ones are now long dead.

Too many times has Amazing Grace been played.

So many are gone yet their memories don't fade.

On that cold wet morning in the Main Street,

He remembered the places where they used to meet.

He remembered the smiles and he remembered the jokes.

He misses those times and those friendly blokes.

Did he remember his wife of so many years?

Is that what finally filled him with tears?

Did he remember a brother who went to war?

Was there someone who foolishly broke the law?

When the bands played in front of the old Town Hall,

He remembered so many. He remembered them all.

He stood tall and strong and filled with grace.

And then the band played Amazing Grace. 

                                                                                             Coleen Heathwood

I can relate to crying when I hear the bagpipes being played. My grandfather was in the Gordon Highlanders so the Scottish blood in me gets stirred up when I hear the pipes.

Before Coleen sent me this poem I wasn't even aware that Glen Innes held an annual Celtic Festival. Obviously this year it came around on the coldest weekend of autumn when an icy blast from the south made temperatures plummet right around Eastern Australia which would have made Glen Innes very cool indeed. I have memories of passing through there on the way to Melbourne when I was a child and it was freezing! 

As I have my first blog anniversary coming up on the 1st June, Coleen has kindly sent me four of her books to give away including her newest book, Woongarra Willie Wagtails. She writes about Australian wildlife which would be of great interest to my overseas readers so I will be having a special giveaway of one of the books for those readers. The giveaway will be start on the 1st June so watch this space!


  1. What a beautiful poem!!! Makes me all teary as well. Thank you for sharing!

  2. It is lovely isn't it Frances? Coleen is very talented indeed.

  3. The poem made me tear up...juts beautiful. I was born about 30 minutes from Glen Innes, in Armidale. I don't think they had the Celtic festival then because we never went as kids. I have heard it is amazing though :)

  4. I had never heard of it before Coleen told me. My son plays the bagpipes so he would love the festival.


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