Walking a metaphor
(With thanks to Jacqui Stearn)
From Purgatory to Paradise
a company of artists, poets, writers,
young and old, walked in discourse and delight.
In Purgatory woods through, which our human line snaked,
and before emerging onto the hill of swifts,
dainty paths were picked through pungent wild garlic,
bluebell and delicate points of debate.
Nettles and propositions were beaten down,
care taken to avoid snagging legs or ideas
on trailing blackberry shoots and thorny questions.
On the hill we grouped, imagined the fields spread below
draped scarlet with wool cloth drying, then
a step of two more, and a pause by Elcombe’s spring,
after which our ribbon widened in the lanes
then trailed tracks much deepened by iron wheels, hooves, shod feet.
The tree-canopied tunnels, holloways, descended
to streams and rivers whose flow held stories
of mills and weaving; we pooled human knowing.
The place names evoked images: Bulls Cross
where the gibbet stood near Longridge - which it is -
then the Cockshoot to Damsells Cross and so to Paradise
and Charles’ rest, where our modern tribe gathered,
warmed by sunshine, replete with tale telling and discovering.
Spirits freed from the daily round and round by metaphorical footsteps
flights of imagination and poetic Indulgences.