Sunday, 5 July 2015

Memories of the Marlborough Downs

Sometimes in memory I see
those boundless skylines, hilltop woods and distant knots of trees
whose echoes linger on the sky,
a rutted road
receding over folding hills
beneath a baking sun.

And as the memory expands and breathes I see
an afternoon progressing through the hours of heat,
a golden haze upon the stippled corn, a silence counterpointed only
by the song of skylarks and the drone of bees
and all the creatures which abound
among the stalks.

Yet, reaching back, the memory grows weak
as I attempt to see the evening and the setting sun
bestow a ray of gold on every bush, on every leaf,
the haze dispersing - colours, textures, shapes of sun and shadow growing sharper,
more distinct. The dots of trees along the farthest ridge,
the flawless downs, the hilltop camps arranged in cosmic silence seem to gain
a power greater even than before and, for an instant, all of time
is held within a point of timelessness.

Yet memory alone cannot retain
what moved, so long ago, through head and heart and feet, I just recall,
as clouds process across the western sky,
a breath of hope.   

Washmore Hill, June

The wind moves
unhindered on these open, empty hills,
its ripples, tides and currents
echoed in the convolutions of the turning corn,
now deepest green is swept with silver grey
and warmer green with russet, russet gold
and gold with cream. The downs are swirling,
seething like the sea, awaiting harvest when the earth
is still