Launde Abbey Walk
(after John Clare)
I know, encircled in your arms I’ll lie
by nightfall when soft darkness flowers. The hours
must pass, in that I have no choice, but I
may choose my passing wiles until I’m yours.
I meet with poets, hear the words of Clare
whilst walking through the Abbey grounds of Launde,
sweet rhythms, rhymes and sonnets thrill; the air
is thick with inspiration, grace resounds.
His ancient, fine-tuned gaze is clear, reflects
in everything- around, about, above.
The Walnut, Beech, Sweet Chestnut and the Oaks;
they nourish, feed my hunger for your love.
Yet where life sometimes disappoints, short-falls
the mark, You never fail me, You enthrall.
The Eucalyptus, peeling bark of long
mink shards like razor shells that curl away,
fine arching branches kiss the sky, a song
in leaves a bloom of blue, a hiss, a sway.
The Wellingtonia, Giant Sequoia, great
totemic earth-red pole, a piercing, tall,
cannonical spit of fiercesome weight
and height, a dizzying might, dwarfing all,
yet not the Copper Beech with burnished limbs
all patina’d leaf reflecting Autumn
Sun. Her spined and bristled hedgehog twins
and triplets fall and splay, their fruit, nut brown,
encrusting all the earth beneath amidst
the crisping leaves that turn the green to dust.
I enter through a door- please close the gate-
within, a kitchen garden in decline.
Beyond it’s crumbling walls, raised beds laid waste
to weeds, organic farming by design.
The dancing Ox-eyes border upright Leeks
that seem to march in ordered rank and file.
Magenta eyes of crimson Poppies peep
as through the blue-grey greens the breezes sigh.
Beneath the Apple boughs a madder blush,
a sweet fermenting carpet summons forth
the wasps, so greedy for their sugar rush
they leave me be. And there for all he’s worth,
the broad palmed Fig, the garden’s Theurgist,
signs nature’s blessings from his red-brick list.
I leave the working garden, close the gate
and stroll across the Abbey’s formal green
to where the beckoning Cedar’s limbs create
a space of quiet seclusion, hold a swing.
I sit, for how could I resist that joy
and let the motion lull me as I look;
ecclesiastic symbols make me toy
with thoughts of faith, a being brought to book;
the crucifixes carved from wood and stone,
the crosses made from twigs that fell from trees
once felled like sinners broken by a storm
and just like sinners, crumpled to their knees;
I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
yet knowing You, I know, nor fear alone.