An autumnal Edwardian apple tree,
Melancholy remnant of an orchard
And market garden in the centre of town,
Now razed to the ground ready for houses,
Its last crop of ripening apples,
Spread like tears across the sloping hillside.
Hardhats and machines doing their business -
The first steps towards brand new terraces,
While below the surface, badgers in their setts
Sniff an air that is changing faster than the seasons,
And feel a tremor louder than a landslide,
As red brick Stroud moves above their home.
Everyone has to live somewhere, I know,
And this pattern is one that has housed us all,
With Cotswold stone and Stonehouse best red brick,
Stretched across the valleys and the hillsides,
In industrial waves of development,
Now deemed to be postcard picturesque.
But every time we lose that rus in urbe
Green lung, open-space, Stroud-sensation -
Every time we lose some forgotten space,
Some edgeland with a revenant tree-scape
Standing sentinel through the seasons,
Then memory replaces the senses.
This is the paradox of modernity.