By the silent river and its dark shine
under the bare sun; by the meadow’s ripe


grasses and breeze that blew a flimsy mob

of travellers about its flowers; by the hub


that was an elm, I recall, and so tall,

so visible in all directions; by more


than we could count of nettle and thistle

on bare-legged walks and the bramble’s hostile


thorns; by the cattle crowd on their quiet hill

as they pulled at the grass and ramblers watched it


hiking over the fields; by the barbed wire

fence, the stile and the five-barred gate I swore


I’d jump one of these days and on the roadway,

winding down into the village where sane


valley feet trod; by the church yews that stood

now out of their time and no longer stirred


their worshippers; by all these, we kept close

and made our quiet way all on our own.



© John Stuart