A PENSIONER poet is having the rhyme of his life looking back over his years of travelling the world.
Jarrow-born Freddie Nellist has just published his fifth book of poems, In My Own Words.
The 84-year-old distributed copies of his latest poetry collection to family and friends during a recent trip to his native Jarrow from his current home in Staffordshire.
Born in Primrose Hill Terrace, near the Robin Hood pub, in 1928, Mr Nellist decided to see the world by joining the Army.
Mr Nellist said: “Jarrow was not a happy place at the time, and there was little work, so I joined the Queen’s Royal Lancers.
“I eventually became a regimental sergeant major and travelled the world with the Army, including various parts of Europe, plus Libya, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and Hong Kong.”
Apart from his military service, Mr Nellist was also a keen sportsman, running for Jarrow and Hebburn Athletics Club and fighting for St Kilda’s Boxing Club in Jarrow.
Poetry was always close to Mr Nellist’s heart, and writing verse often sustained him during his military service.
“I would find myself writing poetry while sitting in my tank, and it’s something I continued with after I retired,” he said.
“One of my favourite poets is Robert Burns, who seemed to write while he’s thinking, which is what I do.”
Mr Nellist’s verse is filled with the poetic wisdom of a long and full life.
In A Man, he writes:
“A man doesn’t have to be six feet tall,
Like anyone else, he can falter and fall.
When he is able, he will rise up again,
It’s not a weakness if he cries in pain.”
Some poems remember his early life in Jarrow, including memories of his beloved mother, while others look at his current life in Staffordshire.
For more information about Mr Nellist’s poetry, write to him at: 11 Longford Court, Bideford Way, Cannock, Staffordshire, WS11 1QB.