Friday, 14 December 2012

A Stroud Valleys Christmas

There is a poem below called A Stroud Valleys Christmas, but first I would like to draw your early attention to our first collective walk, when we map, record and re-imagine the landscape. This will be on Twelfth Night, Sunday January 6th. By then, our website at  should be moving beyond work in progress: that is the place where we shall place our collaborative multi-media interpretations of our locality. Further details about the walk – meeting point, route, mileage and so on, will follow, both  on the blog and the website; but for the moment, let us all enjoy Christmas-Tide, remembering that the poem below could become a half-forgotten memory if building takes place in the Slad Valley.

A Stroud Valleys Christmas

One damp, December Sunday afternoon,
I biked out through Stroud’s featureless streets,
And then along the Slad Valley to Bull’s Cross:
Past shooting, pollarded willow trees,
All lined along the lanes;
Past well wrapped figures stacking yuletide logs,
All shrouded in a coppice;
Past the chapels turned to guest houses,
Their graveyards full of cars;
Past families cutting mistletoe,
Their long handled secateurs silhouetted
Against the setting sun’s cloudscape;
Past rooks, gathering in the gathering dusk,
All calling in the copse -
Until, all was still and silent,
At sunset;
That moment,
When all life seems to be suspended.

I listened to the silence,
Then turned my bike for home.
And when I returned to Stroud in darkness,
Nocturnal winter-spring had sprung:
Every window was now ablaze with lights,
And glittering trees and candles;
Doors were hung with stars and wreaths of holly,
Laced with ivy and mistletoe;
Christmas has come!
Cold season’s magic!

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