Sunday, 9 November 2014

Stroud 1914

Stroud 1914

Stroud, like so many places a century ago,

Was an unconscious microcosm of the whole nation:

The sloping slate roofs of the red-bricked terraces,

The new suburban villas with their monkey puzzle trees,

The grand country houses with their uninterrupted views,

The old stone cottages with their vegetable plots,

The farms, the barns, the byres, the stables, the milk churns,

The dry stone lanes, the holloways, the footpaths,

The ginnels, the alley-ways, the new name streets,

The orcha​rds, the commons, the hedgerows, the fields,

The rivers, the streams, the springs, the brooks,

The canals, the wharves, the railway lines, the gas lights,

The bridges, the viaducts, the factories, the mills,

The forge, the furnace, the foundry, the smithy,

The plumes of steam as men marched to the station:

The clunk of the signal, the guard’s shrill whistle,

The handkerchiefs, the tears, the waves, the loneliness,

The camps, the tents, the ships, the ‘planes, the fronts,

The telegrams, the slow drawing down of the blinds.

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