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AN ABRIDGED HISTORY OF THE WORLD

‘Holt Bridge On The River Dee’ By Richard Wilson RA

 

Near where the Romans made pottery and tiles

from the rich boulder clay the Ice Age brought,

a fourteenth century eight arch sandstone bridge

spans the River Dee, Afon Dyfrdwy,

linking Welsh Holt and English Farndon.

The bridge’s stones are from the same quarry

as Holt Castle’s, the first the invaders built.

Three centuries later the Roundheads took it.

 

Occasional salmon from the Atlantic

navigate the industrial detritus –

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ON THE NATURE OF THINGS

From the terrace at Polesden Lacey, it was

the guttural calls caught our attention –

then sheep flowing fast over rising ground

like a pale yellow banner in the wind,

then the shepherd himself, then his dogs

flattening themselves at his command.

By the time we reached the valley bottom,

the beasts were penned – lambs from ewes,

the latter funnelled for the shearers.

The bleating drowned the whirring of the clippers.

 

From the high bridge over the Tweed at Kelso,

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LOCAL AUTHORITY

The rain was heavy.  The road was slurred

with cow muck and clay. I slowed

then stopped the car as a straggle of cows

swayed round the bend in the lane.

Large, wild eyes caught me – dry, warm

and listening  to a string quintet –

on County Council business.

One of the beasts, sashaying to a

milky music, nudged a wing mirror askew.

Dense hedgerow became sky of enduring grey.

The elderly cowman plodded at the rear.

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ON THE NATURE OF THINGS

From the terrace at Polesden Lacey, it was

the guttural calls caught our attention –

then sheep flowing fast over rising ground

like a pale yellow banner in the wind,

then the shepherd himself, then his dogs

flattening themselves at his command.

By the time we reached the valley bottom,

the beasts were penned – lambs from ewes,

the latter funnelled for the shearers.

The bleating drowned the whirring of the clippers.

From the high bridge over the Tweed at Kelso,

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