Wednesday, 8 May 2013




Along a wrongly-taken road, unexpectedly we found ourselves at Givendale.
Here, in a setting that would make the most obdurate heathen turn to God,
Or, perhaps, recall the long-forgotten whisperings of other, older deities,
A simple, ancient church stands in a corner at the valley head,
Clasped deep within the arms of overhanging trees
And gazing out with narrowed window-eyes across the stretching water
That mirrors clouds onto the valley floor and feeds a trickling beck,
Joined, along its way, by sudden springs from deep within the hills.
No grand Cathedral Close or Minster Yard could ever have such power
To impress the eye and, with its beauty, lift the soul to unimagined heights.
Here I was lulled by charm of sun and sense of place
To sit in silence and, perhaps, to wish I could remain forever
And simply feel that life and time had, in this quiet corner,
Slowed down below the speed that we alive can comprehend.

Inside the church the stillness deepened more,
As Green Men gazed out from an ancient arch
And a heady scent of hyacinths pervaded the whole air.
I felt that if I never left, I’d be at peace – and almost envied those who lay
Where wood anemones and celandines grow thickly
And blackbirds’ calls are not a dirge or sadly tolling elegy
But celebrate, instead, the living spirit that pervades this place.

Then later, as we walked by woodland paths and ate wild garlic with a greedy joy,
The pungent taste affirmed the all-pervading pleasure
That we, on such a day as this, were here and alive.



Valkrye said...

Beautiful , enchanted place and words. Thank you for the very lovely evocative post.

Pete Thompson said...

Thanks, Valkrye, glad you like it - it is a very special place.

joan said...

Thanks for your beautiful words. It speaks to so much of what we are doing right now as we vacation in some are in medieval places in France.

Pete Thompson said...

Thank you, Joan. Your vacation sounds wonderful - what memories you will have!