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PART OF THE A Scottish Summer ISSUE

‘Past dandelions already gone to seed and summer grasses’

This poem is from Ken Cockburn’s new collection of poetry.

 

Summer Grasses
By Ken Cockburn (from Floating the Woods)
Published by Luath Press

 

at Killerton we walked in silence
past dandelions already gone to seed
and summer grasses

at Knightshayes we walked in silence
through memories of the buzzing airman’s crash
while blue dragonflies skimmed the fountain

at Lanhydrock we walked in silence
through formal Victorian gardens
and the newly mown graveyard

at Clovelly we walked in silence
through a greenwood
to a stony beach

at Overbeck’s we walked in silence
high above the blue bay
on the afternoon of the longest day

at Castle Drogo we walked in silence
past dismantled parapets
into the orchard

at Stourhead we walked in silence
through ‘The Shades’
and descended to the lake

at Croft Castle we walked in silence
from a welcome frustrated by war
to a doubly unwelcome return

at Dunham Massey we walked in silence
along the towpath to the Rope and Anchor
where the horses were commandeered

at the Hardmans’ House we walked in silence
through the cathedral’s complexities
and the bombed-out church, open to angelic skies

at Penrhyn Castle we walked in silence
away from cyclopean gothic
into unforgiving heat

at Nostell Priory we walked in silence
to the ha-ha where the music
carried, just

at Attingham Park we walked in silence
beneath the motto of the deserving rich
to Eada’s only church

at Chirk Castle we walked in silence
past a rustic Orpheus
and a blindfold nymph

at Dudmaston we walked in silence
under apple-boughs
where kids were fighting over windfalls

at Ormesby Hall we walked in silence
from shell-shocked refugees
to prosperous suburbia

at Osterley Park we walked in silence
past Adam’s transparent portico
and the Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport Depot

at Ightham Mote we walked in silence
on a right-of-way across private land
to a saintless church of the Commonwealth

at Ashridge we walked in silence
on land scarred with practice trenches
remnant deer glimpsed in the woods

at Whipsnade we walked in silence
between holly-hedge and mesh-fence
to a porch of oaks and a nave of limes

at Nymans we walked in silence
until it was broken by
a proprietorial thank you

at Bateman’s we walked in silence
to a memorial naming the dead
who kept dying long after the war was over

at the White Cliffs of Dover we walked in silence
past holm oaks and seakale
relishing life at the edge


Floating the Woods by Ken Cockburn is published by Luath Press and is available now priced £8.99.

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