Sunday, 8 June 2014

Laurie Lee Walk from Slad to Whiteway: June 7th

As we walked out on our Laurie Lee walk,
Discussing moments of peace and war,
In an inter-textual - meta-textual
Wander from Slad to Whiteway,
We tripped through the harmony of landscape
And the poetry of past and present cartography:
No blue line motorways or red and yellow roads;
No pale blue tourist signification;
No black lines of railway tracks,
Cuttings, embankments, viaducts or tunnels;
No red square and circle railway stations;
No bus stations, power lines or pylons;
Instead: footpaths, byways and bridleways,
Past names such as Steanbridge, Redding Wood.
Catswood, Driftcombe Farm, High Wood,
Dillay Brook, The Scrubs, Famish Hill,
Sydenhams, The Camp, Calf Way, Wishanger Farm;
And all the while whilst we walked through woodland,
The tumbling waters of springs all around:
What euphony there is in the vowels and consonants
That litter our landscape with their litany!
What secrets of etymology and topography are revealed,
When we tramp the land rather than drive the road,
When we disconnect the sat-nav and navigate
By ancient tracks that connect our ancient springs.

Liminal shrines: those strange, trickling gateways
To mythopoeic underworlds of mystery,
(Or Limestone, Fullers’ Earth and Cotteswold Sands),
Quicksilver mercurial alchemy,
A continuous flow of constant change,
One sip of which will switch your sense of time
(Drinking rainwater that dropped who knows when),
Like star-shine from ancient constellations,
A laughing trick all that slakes and comforts,
Yet mocks the tension of the present tense,
A spring-tide clock whose hands revolve backwards,
With messages from another aeon.

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