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  • Hugh Loxdale

Across This Land

Across this land,

Ever dear,

Pretty England....

The great scar proceeds;

The slug trail of cement

And ashen grey,

Relentless in its needs;

Across little rivulets,

Clear and quiet,

Thick, lush meadows

Where golden cows

Munch their fill,

Only to be made ill

With leaden hay....

Across dulcet woods

Where fragile trees

Stretch in adoration

To the sky..

And protect

The bluebells

And wood anemones,

Far below....

That can never

Struggle up and grow,

But die...

As mighty juggernauts

And endless hordes

Of cars

Pass this way.....

Across dales, downs

And valleys rich,

Where not now a single

Stitch of herbage

Can close withstand

Long the wild wind and noise

Of traffic;

Sears the tender tendrils

And young green shoots

Of England;

Her ancient birth right;

Solid oak and stone, Parish church, pub,

And where old, sacred

Yews once stood;

Where bronzed men

In smocks

Bit hard against clay pipes,

And recounted proud

Tales of battles long ago...

And peace;

Where children skipped

And played around

May poles fair;

And women cried

In labour and in cheer,

As church bells

Sang loud their peels

Of happy union;

Of grief;

Or accursed war,

And its atonement.....

Passed gravestones,

Lichen clad,

High above,

Where skylarks

Now never dare

To fly,

As torrid lorries,

Thunder by;

The butterflies

And bumblebees

That could thrive,

That may have flourished

Were the fields alive

With orchids,

Buttercups and bugle

Bright;

Of calm mushrooms

That glisten

Amidst the cool light

Of many a moonlit

Autumn night;

Waft by the silken

Wings of moth and owl,

Above the badger’s angry growl.

If this great gift

Did once prevail

And might still,

Let it be cherished...

Or become a memory...

Lost...as dulcimer threads

Carried on the winds of time...

That no one ever knew...

Existed.






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