September touches the Vale like a sigh,
a mellow, fruitful suspiration
edging from green to lemon, agitating
gently the skieyest leaves. The Stour
meanders to a sea of clouds vanishing
over an unimaginable Europe.
Dedham Church, a testament to wool,
focuses an especial scene: Saxon names,
corn marigolds, skylarks and enclosures.
After Napoleon, Peterloo and his wife’s
slow death, another canvas shows the same
landscape. New buildings exploit the river
and the church tower is luminous yet
vulnerable, not focal, to a whorl
of cumulus billowing from beyond
the horizon over dark, distressed elms.
Crouched under the overgrown bank of a lane,
the last you see of the painting, with her tent
and her cooking pot, a tramp woman
nurses a child under the tumbling sky.