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The Great Seal of Rufus.

(His body was dragged on a cart to

Winchester along the route discussed below.)

“Hi, it’s me!”

This is one of my least favourite greetings as, usually, out of context,

I cannot, with certainty, identify even some of my closest friends’

voices.

Then the disembodied one will say, “It’s Sue.”

I reply,” Oh-yes, sorry.  Of course..” While they rattle on, I am frantically

searching for some clue, some orientation.  Eventually, the penny will

drop, but it is so stressful.  I know about twenty or thirty Sues, Susans,

Susies, with all their orthographical variations.

Anyway, it was Brassie again.  She was talking from her tiled kitchen, so

her voice was resonating differently. She doesn’t usually spend much time

in her kitchen.  In fact, Cosmo, her husband wondered why she had to

have one.  Apparently, it was so that she could have an Aga, or she would

have lost face with half of Suttonford.

I read your poem, she said.  You should publish that other one you showed

me about that walk we took on The Silkstead Road all those years ago.  I

remembered it when I read the one about Stockbridge Down.

Okay- for all you Sues, Susies, Suzies and Susans and for anyone else who

likes nature poems, here is:

THE SILKSTEAD ROAD

Tramping Yew Hill, thick bluebelled Silkstead Road,

I thought: did monks eye peacock butterflies?

Did they appreciate what Nature showed-

stitchwort, ground ivy, wood anemones?

We took equivocal arrowheads, prised

from the chalk path.  I wanted to believe

each blue white flint was pottery disguised;

ancient shards.  I so desired to receive

visions of men canopied under trees,

cathedral-vaulted, in tunnelled walkway.

And then thin voices floated on the breeze,

chanting plainsong.  Perhaps it was the day,

so clear, that put such notions in my head,

its wild flower profusion resurrection

in itself.  For all we know, the long dead

haunt such paths, offering benediction.

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