Monday, 14 December 2015


Whinney Hill, taken from Millington Wood.

I'm constantly intrigued by how poems form out of a single word or phrase. This one came from the phrase 'England itself is sacred' in a book I was reading.

England itself is sacred.

Worship in the cathedral of the woods
for England itself is sacred
to those who bow their heads
before the altars of the hills
and make their solemn pilgrimages
to timeless places that exude
the divine and the profane.

Listen to the notes of wind on stones
for England itself is music.
The sound of falling leaves
builds to a crescendo that plays
where hares and foxes dance,
and the timpani of breaking waves
is heard above the still, sad solo
of nature’s faint, lamenting voice.

Read the arcane texts written on the land
for England itself is a manuscript,
a palimpsest
where each successive generation
inscribes its own life’s story
across the face of all the others,
leaving faint, intriguing clues
of what has gone before.

Follow in forgotten footsteps
for England itself is a pathway
taking us to places
where we long or fear to go,
saturated with the tread
of those who went before
and, failing to return,
have reached their journey’s end.