After the halting journey from Calais,
via Waterloo and the main line north,
to be carried that autumn afternoon
in the estate’s wagons through the park gates,
past the grazing deer, to be greeted
on the front steps by his Lordship himself
with a small speech about sanctuary,
the first of the curable invalids –
trench foot, shell shock, TB – must have thought
they were in some temporary heaven.
They called it ‘Blighty Ward’ – the Garden Salon
with windows that overlooked the parterre
where the last of the roses were blooming.