Bluebells galore. Photo by Candia Dixon-Stuart
Another Bank Holiday over, Candia, Brassie sighed on the telephone.
She was always tired at half term, as the twins wore her out with
their irrepressible energy. She had to find low budget activities
that involved a lot of physical expenditure, but were not too demanding
of financial outlay. These kinds of activity meant that the hyperactive
Andy, the manic Border Terrier, could be included.
Running up and down hill forts and challenging Castor and Pollux to see
how fast they could do a circuit on the ancient rims was a good ploy.
She actually enjoyed climbing Stockbridge Down on her own, or with
Candia, once school had resumed. The elevation gave them a
perspective on their lives and the banks of violets produced Metaphysical
thoughts, similar to those expressed by the poets themselves. Those
steep walks took on an entirely different character.
So, did you write your poem, Candia? Brassica asked.
Yes. Would you like to hear it?
You know I always want to hear your poems, Candia, Brassie replied.
Oh well then…
SUNSET OVER STOCKBRIDGE DOWN
The sky is nacreous over Stockbridge Down.
Damp, grass-scented air carries the trilling
liquefaction of a nightingale’s song.
A Somborne field is bloodstained with poppies.
The dry brown earth is cracked under our feet.
Green spindleberries and sloe haven’t reached
their apotheosis. The violet bank
is invaded by rose bay willow herb.
We sit on a ridge and watch that huge disc
eighty four million miles away, setting
over Danebury Hill Fort, where others,
cradled in that ring, did the selfsame thing
a millennium ago. Down below
the detail of little houses is lost.
The wild oat sorters that look like black crows
moving diagonally across fields
have finished their task. The light is fading.
Rabbit colonies are in their warrens.
A busy family day’s activities
have ceased. Fatigue sets in and soon we’ll sleep
in the same landscape as Iron Age Man,
nightingales, seeds, grasses and the old sun.
Someone sitting here in years to come
will tap into collective consciousness;
will feel consensus, a consecration
and a universal empowerment
to carry on the eternal struggle.