By Len A.Hynds

Whilst preparing to drive off from a supermarket car park, I saw another car arrive and a young couple get out, with their small daughter. I thought I recognised the young mum first, then looking at her husband, who was dressed in a smart suit, I realised with shock that the last time I had seen him, he had been a seventeen year old criminal delinquent.

Part of his court punishment of probation was to perform manual work on behalf of the community. This had been eight years previously, and I had been asked if I could handle a group of juvenile delinquents to build and transform the centre park in a square, which was surrounded by bungalows, one of which was mine. I agreed and was brought ten male and six female teenagers, none of whom were very pleased with having to do hard physical work, and to be supervised by a very ancient laryngectomee who spoke with an artificial voice.

The first thing I did was to have them all for tea in my back garden, and explained what needed to be done, and showed them the plans made by a professional team of artists and designers.

I will not go into details how I won them over, but we became friends, the whole bunch, and towards the fourth week we were ready to make mosaic pavements set at intervals along the pathways. I showed them pictures of Roman mosaics and how they had lasted for thousands of years. I then told them that each would create a mosaic, to their own design or picture, which I promised would be put in place. I taught them how to make mosaics, and the work they produced was very good. Mine was a Viking ship under full sail and they were all set in the pathways at set intervals. They then started bringing their parents to see the work they had done, and they were so proud. I had so many parents being introduced to me and having tea in my garden.

During the last week, we had an official visit from the designers and one of the artists with them was a young beautiful Irish girl who was introduced as Shavawn. All my lads were smitten and tongue tied, and when the designers left, Shavawn said that she would come back with refreshment for us. That young man, now so smartly dressed, said to me pleadingly, “Oh Len, please write me a poem for her.” There was much laughter from the team, but I quickly wrote this.


Just one word, but it tells us all,
of pictures painted in Taras Hall,
a land of heroes and harps that call
with Gaelic music that does enthral

Just one word, spoken softly so,
with Erin’s lilt so sweet and low
a thousand years of song does show,
in that one name said softly slow.

Just a name, sounded like Shavawn,
The Emerald Isle saw it born,
Spoken with love since Celtic dawn,
said so lovely this September morn.

When she returned my young scallywag read ‘his‘ poem to her, and she was suitably impressed and agreed when he asked for a date, with the rest of the team trying to hide their sniggers. I had heard that she had transformed his life, and he now had a good job, and they had married. As they walked into the supermarket, there was no doubt that they were deeply in love with each other,

Doesn’t God work in mysterious ways!