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after rhododendron clearance

Do you remember I asked you where you would like to go

for your significant birthday, several years ago? asked Brassica, while

we were sitting in the rear courtyard of Costamuchamoulah

must-seen cafe.

Yes, and I said to Dorset, to see Thomas Hardy’s house and/or cottage,

I replied, wondering where this conversation was headed.

Well, I found that poem that you wrote afterwards and so I thought

you might like to read it again.

Oh, pass it over.  I’d forgotten all about it.

(Well, dear Reader, you might as well read it too!)

HIGHER BOCKHAMPTON

Where bright goldcrests dip over Rushy Pond,

speckled fawns lie, peaceful, in swallet holes,

cushioned on russet-needled floor.  Beyond

lies Puddletown Heath, but here thick beech boles,

sweet chestnut, laurel and hazel copses

shelter grass snakes, which coil in leafy shade,

where Hardy coppiced verse; plot synopses.

Witches’ broom fungus found on some decayed

branches illustrated family trees:

supernatural blight in Paradise,

which brought his fruitless marriage to its knees.

Through opened casements he would watch fireflies,

straining to see some glimmer in the pitch

dark of the cottage garden.  Then he wrote

of class difference between poor and rich;

his real words of complaint choking his throat.

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