Some poetic thoughts…

daisy (2)

Daisy on a Sussex beach

…on why it is a privilege to be born under an English heaven.

“…A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam; A body of England’s, breathing English air, …” [1]

The joy of the changing seasons, watching the crashing waves on the Sussex coast, the scent of sea air and sound of mewing seagulls, swooping and circling, …  “Five and twenty ponies,  Trotting through the dark –  Brandy for the Parson, ‘Baccy for the Clerk.  Laces for a lady; letters for a spy, Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by”! [2]


a rainbow on the Sussex Downs

The appearance of snowdrops and crocuses, -the promise of spring, the countryside alive with expectation, and the endless fascination with the sound of English place names, “Yes, I remember Adlestrop – The name, because one afternoon, Of heat the express-train drew up there,  Unwontedly. It was late June. … And for that minute a blackbird sang,  Close by, and round him, mistier,  Farther and farther, all the birds  Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire”. [3]
The dreamy sound of click on willow from a distant summer village cricket match, …  “Stands the Church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea”? [4]
The mellow autumn colours drifting towards the misty distance, and the delightful lingering scent of wood smoke. A country pub, roaring log fire and a pint of Harveys Sussex Best bitter. Glimpsing an infinite number of stars on a frosty winter’s night. “And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees, When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, A highwayman comes riding—Riding—riding— A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door”. [5]

The sense of adventure and anticipation at the prospect of seeking fortune leaving our island kingdom, “We turned the ‘Fancy’ from the wind and ran out 40 gun, And soon the sky was filled with smoke that hid us from the sun”, [6] ... or perhaps the more leisurely,  “They sailed away, for a year and a day, To the land where the Bong-tree grows..” [7] and the memories of exploring, “Do you remember an Inn, Miranda, Do you remember an Inn?…And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees, And the wine that tasted of tar”? [8] But not forgetting to take time to allow distraction, “What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare” [9] as a Welsh poet wrote, pondering these thoughts whilst walking a Labrador through wooded pathways upon the Sussex Downs, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” [10] and living in Cornwall -that urge that effects ever islander, I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over. ” [11], or perhaps the absurd “I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; I left my shoes and socks there – I wonder if they’re dry? [12]

And best of all with life’s experiences – is to share them. As the fictional character Lottie Wilkins surmised, “It did seem that people could only be really happy in pairs…[13]


Poem notes:  [1] The Soldier’, Rupert Brooke, 1888-1915;  [2] A Smuggler’s Song’, Rudyard Kipling, 1865–1936;  [3] ‘Adlestrop’, Edward Thomas,1878-1917; [4] ‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’, Rupert Brooke, 1887–1915;  [5] ‘The Highwayman’, Alfred Noyes, 1880-1958;  [6] ‘The Ballad of Long Ben’, based on a Broadsheet printed in London c.1694;  [7] ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’, Edward Lear, 1812–1888; [8] Tarantella’, Hilaire Belloc, 1870–1953;  [9] ‘Leisure’, W H Davies, 1871–1940;  [10] The Road Not Taken’, Robert Frost, 1874–1963; [11] ‘Sea Fever’ John Masefield 1878-1967;  [12] Spike Milligan 1918-2002 alternative version; [13] Elizabeth Von Arnim’s 1922 book ‘The Enchanted April’
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