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IMG_7743

Adlestrop Church

Photo by Candia Dixon-Stuart

 

The Post Office is closed; a flyer pokes

out of a letter-box; thin rivulet

trickles down a bridleway, aiming for

the Evenlode.  A profusion of blue

chicory shivers in the breeze.  The church,

sanctified by its topiary cross –

reminiscent of Jane Austen’s necklet

which she wore as she left the rectory

on merciful missions to village poor –

stood firm during Napoleonic Wars.

Its roof vault is as azure as that sky

the poet contemplated on his brief halt,

when his depression lifted on hearing

birdsong, which trilled above the hiss of steam.

 

From trenches, could he see that cloudless square?

When someone failed to set the station clock,

did Time itself revolt at what would come?

 

 

Could we also be on the brink of war?

Yet pale Wisteria seems to conquer

fear and heraldic tulips blazon hope.

 

A yellow poster in the bus shelter

promises that all money raised

from a talk on Edward Thomas will fund

Syrian refugees – will help those ‘wontedly,

or wantonly, driven out of their homes.

Who will attend?  Some wealthy weekenders?

 

Thomas never actually made it here,

although his spirit is ubiquitous.

Pervasive silence invites us to pause,

in the name of Poetry and Beauty,

before all clocks are permanently stopped

and there are no more birds in Gloucestershire.