Parting shots?

What stood here
Where three roads meet
Before those twenty feet of sharp-cut stone?

How many of its litany of loss
Once sat here, as I do,
Savouring a glass
In the long day’s golden hour?

And in that far-off hell
Was this the heaven
That sustained them:

The lych-gate, church, high rectory walls,
The copper beech’s vaulted roof
And this old pub, dark, square and snug,
Infused with wood-smoke, ale and song.

Now as the half-hour chimes
And blackbirds hymn the April sun to rest
Would they sleep easy
Knowing that this little land
They loved and left for good
Stood ready to renounce the bonds
Of faith and friendship they once forged
Fought and now stand remembered for
Where three roads meet,
As we, their proud inheritors,
Consider parting ways?

 

 

 

Sitting outside a local pub last night, I found myself contemplating the war memorial (difficult not to, actually, since it’s right in the centre of the village and really rather enormous) and started jotting down a few thoughts that accidentally became a poem. I’d promised myself I wouldn’t write about the whole EU referendum mess we’ve been landed in by our glorious leaders, but I ended up doing just that. The EU is far from perfect, of course, but the idea of ‘plucky Britannia standing alone’ is one that, to my mind at least, is now way past its use-by date. N.

 

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4 thoughts on “Parting shots?

  1. I’ve read this three times now, Nick. Is a pub where three roads meet, infused with history, a place where blackbirds hymn the April sun to rest” (ah what a line!), a nexus where time swirls the past and present together into the future? I didn’t get the EU, though I would trust your wisdom in that, when I read the poem at first, but then I thought about it. A great effort if a little different from your usual.

    • Thank you as always, Tom. I dream that one day, you and I and John looker and Ina and all the others will sit outside that pub (The Star at Waldron if you want to find it on Google Earth) or one very like it and talk about life and poetry over a pint of English ale. And I can at least guarantee that the beer and the welcome will be warm, even if the weather isn’t! N.

  2. Good poem again Nick, and I too hope the UK will not leave the EU. In 1666 the English ransacked Terschelling, and “we” burnt down London in revenge. There should be no more of that, ever 🙂

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