Begun the year of Waterloo, finished
in that of Peterloo, built on rents
and sugar, this – according to Pevsner –
‘modest’ Palladian mansion sits
on a slope, a belvedere. Mature trees
overhang the erstwhile stable block,
now a spa. The hotel is a venue
for weddings – featured in ‘Bride of the Year’ –
and funerary teas, like today’s in sun.
From the terrace, and over the ha-ha,
sheep graze in broad fields hedged with hawthorn,
pasture that stretches to sparse, managed woodland.
Beyond, as if added by some British
landscape artist – a Constable, Turner,
Wilson – there is an horizon of low hills
beneath a sky of indefinable blue.
We do not talk about the wealth of nations,
about the origins of money,
about enclosures or slavery.
This early evening, after the rites, as if
what we see were not a trick
of the eye, and what we know were not a sleight
of words, we are relaxed about dying.