The Cotswolds, Nature, The Environment
THE ENGLISH VILLAGE
The English Village with its war memorial.
The wooden bench on the central green.
Its river and the vicar’s Morris Minor
And a letter box on which ‘VR’ is seen.
A stone church with stained glass and spire,
Its past history recoded in the cemetery,
A WI member cycles to the church,
Fresh flowers fill her basket for the sanctuary.
In the village hall is the monthly market,
The Harvest Festival and the Summer show,
The Easter picnic and the Christmas carols,
And the fireworks in the bonfire’s glow.
A newsagent, a grocer, both green and dry.
A butcher, a bank, a baker’s warm bread.
A Chemist makes up the prescription
That the Doctor diagnosed at the bed.
Villagers walking to meet for tea.
Children playing on the green’s edge,
Catch ups and chats near the shop,
And bank manager trimming his hedge.
Next door to the blacksmith’s forge,
Is home under a thatch that’s dark brown,
And the cricket ground and the bowls club,
And the bus stop for the coach into town.
The essence of the English village,
A place to be greatly treasured,
That Lifts your heart and gives you
Comfort when you lie down in bed.
A part of the England where I was born,
That welcomes you with arms open wide,
Brings warmth and joy to your heart,
And grounds you in the countryside.
Jacb Jan 2021
THE COSTWOLDS IN WINTER
Winchcombe to Woodmancote
I love this road at this time of year
With winters cutting fresh wind.
The fields look super tidy at this distance,
Recovering from the farmers summer mowing.
Looking like green felt all over the hill,
Broken up by large stones piled one on another.
Once it was to get them from under the plough,
Now they show the skill of a countryman’s work.
Now it is elevated to an art form.
The hedges that are just so neat and tidy,
Like a punished child is polite and obedient.
Quick to do, but really it’s not that good.
Nor is it sympathetic to the living plant,
Although it does seem able to survive.
Trees, magnificent with monumental roughness,
Without their leaves begin to look like a
Stained-glass filigree window looking to the sky,
Exposing the magical mistletoe.
There are fewer trees than there used to be,
Lost to age and firewood, field size and disease.
We, you and I, have done and allowed that,
Imposing our clean and tidy will on the land,
So it can’t work as it is supposed to.
Supporting, competing, surviving, sustaining.
It can do it, on its own, all alone,
But we impose our will, isolated from life,
Elevating ourselves above nature.
This bit of the road is really not too bad
With few potholes, and not travelled often or fast.
Sweeping between hedges from farm to farm,
Mossed in the centre, a pleasant place to walk.
The sweeping hills gently rolling, breast like.
Not like the weather today,
Cutting, icy cold, and finger numbing.
The contrast uplifts the gorgeous beauty of both,
And all of this is on the way to my home.
Jacb Dec 2019
THE PERFECT ENGLISH DAY
It was a perfect English day in autumn.
The sky was blue with light high clouds
The low afternoon sun giving long shadows
All across the Cotswold landscape.
The soft top of my car neatly folded down,
Elgar was accompanying
The green rolling hills and trees as they passed by,
As the engine hummed quietly.
The Cotswold miles sped smoothly and quietly past.
There was a cold brisk wind blowing.
It was the sort of weather to be alive in.
My heart beat full of Englishness.
If I had died, then I would just evaporate
Subsumed into an essential
Part of what was a perfect Cotswold English day.
An essence of the landscape.
From a headline in The Times page 5 28th Dec 2020
With people locked away,
The animals come out to play.
They have their space again
Even if it is wet with the rain
We are not messing with their home,
Tending the lawn with a comb.
They are free to do their thing
And protect their work with a sting.
They don’t have to look out for us
Which make their life less of a fuss.
They can dance and frolic
In their beautiful world bucolic.
We can watch through the window
As they make the most of it in our tree.
And wish that we could explore
And climb and fly like them, so free.
Jacb Jan 2021
THE MICROBES PAIN
Ahah! said the microbe to his many microbe friends,
This host is good for us and sheltered from the rain.
Do not be greedy, but enjoy as you munch;
Host-collapse is bad as finding new ones is a pain.
Still, they don’t make hosts like they used to,
Now they collapse at the slightest new thing.
Warm hosts are good for us, and cold hosts are bad.
What will we do we do when they all go missing?
jacb Nov 2019
HOW BIG IS A WREN?
What do you see from the branch a tree?
And does it matter who sits next to you?
Is it important that you don’t really care
And just need to preen to fly in the air.
Does the Wren, hiding in the Oak tree’s twigs,
Know he is not bigger than one of the oak leaves?
Is his ego as big as ours, making him think
He is the centre of the universe, as big as is right.
Does the Sea Gull think that his size is right?
Ten times the size of a Wren, but still correct.
But only a fifth the size of a large White Eagle,
Who too thinks he is the centre of the universe.
At least we don’t see smaller humans as food!