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All Saints, Steep

Brassie and I set out one sunny afternoon last week, to savour the

fresh air and to visit Steep Church with its memorial windows to Edward

Thomas, the poet.

Imagine our shock at finding one of the exquisite little panes shattered

by vandals-apparently some time ago.

It made me return to my online file and I managed to find a poem

written about these works of art several Springs ago.

Let me share it with you:


It is steep, but we find it after all

with memorial tablet on the wall,

listing old choirboys – Cranstone, Applebee,

whose treble piping trills continually

in shrill birdsong. Death’s head kneelers proclaim

memento mori. We don’t forget name,

or words from the believer whose etched glass

invites us to see less darkly, to pass

through the pain, through the pane, beyond the moss

of an Easter garden, with central cross,

till our gaze follows glaze to Downs and sky,

clouded momentarily by the sigh

of some Hampshire widow, for whom the coat

on washing line; the unsmoked pipe denote

an absent man and yet a spirit nigh,

the daffodils bugling in Reveille.