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Desire Lines, continued

October 20, 2021

Still pursuing desire lines, five artists and poets went to Fyne Court in the Quantocks on a sunny Sunday.
It was the home of Andrew Crosse, an early experimenter with electricity.
The house was destroyed in a fire. The L-shaped bench in the photo below shows the location of one corner of the house. Only outbuildings remain, and unobtrusively managed parkland.

The trees are a mix of native and imported. Fungi were busy at the vital work of creating life out of death.

The delightful mediaeval parish church is a short distance away. The East window was made in William Morris’s workshop. Stained glass is difficult to photograph well. Or so I tell myself when my photos don’t turn out as I’d hoped. I had better luck with a side-view of a side window. The C16 bench-ends were carved by Simon Werman. The modern kneelers depict details from the bench-ends. A corner of Andrew Crosse’s laboratrory table is just visible on the right in the last bench-end photo. The yew tree is said to be the third-largest in Somerset.

Broomfield, October                

And we came by deep lanes chequered with light
to the place where a house had burned to the ground
the home of the Thunder and Lightning Man
the Wizard of Broomfield who conjured life from rock
with a quickening shock of electrons 

And we five walked on a fallen tree
whose grain was twisted as a worsted yarn
even I the oldest the most unsteady
stood tall on the shoulder of that giant 

And we wandered among great yews and beeches
oaks and young rowans and birches
and life was there in abundance springing
from spores in the leaf litter springing
from branch to branch in the sunlit canopy

And we lay under a circle of sky with our backs pressed
to dry land to rock and root and teeming soil
our backs pressed to thrumming networks of mycelium
clouds passed and birds passed and a little time passed
while the trees held conversation that went over our heads
and into our hearts and we knew ourselves blest

And we struck wood and played the song of October  
and we held no thoughts but only the xylophone tones
ringing ringing ringing into our singing bones
into the forest into the earth into the blue for ever and ever

And we walked on hallowed ground around Saint Mary
and All Saints where the living hollow shell of a yew tree
and ancient lichen-painted gravestones
and the obelisk of the Thunder and Lightning Man
reminded us that life individual is brief
and life eternal is shared with stone and tree
with the smallest of crawling things under a fallen leaf 

And we came home with pockets packed with seeds
prickly chestnut hulls leaves and stones
a sliver of slate and the shell of a stripey snail
grains of Quantock soil under our nails
and the day was round and perfect as an egg
and contentment ran like a robin’s song in our veins



Ama Bolton 2021-10-10

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2021 1:16 pm

    It did indeed, a memorable day and your poem captures it marvelously, thank you

  2. October 20, 2021 1:18 pm

    Thanks for your part in it, Jo.

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