Last week we held our monthly Abingdon share a poem group. I now have three more Abingdon poems to put forward towards the Ten poems about Abingdon book. I hope to get about 30 poems from which somebody, as yet unknown, can choose 10. Here is the first. It was written using the voice of a house. It is interesting in poems to become an object or animal and use its voice …
For years now I have sat here
Gazing at the garden,
Watching it grow, and growing too, more slowly,
Feeling my timbers harden.
Once, younger and smaller,
I looked over fields,
Glimpsed St Helen’s spire and the outskirts of Abingdon,
Listened for the church peels.
Back from the road
And out of public view,
Snug in our orchards and meadows,
We Northcourt houses were few.
Now the trees have grown
That they planted long ago,
Cutting the view of those passing in the road –
How quickly they grow.
And now, clean on their straight walls
There are young roofs all round,
No wisdom in them, no bending to fit the years,
Crowding my ground.
They have driven off the squirrels
That played once in my trees,
Have turned us old ones into town houses
Yearning for a country breeze:
Just a handful now, The Old House,
The Farmhouse, cottages and pub,
The young one, posh behind its red wall
Yet still we form the hub;
And round us the old hamlet
Can still, though only just, be seen:
Some old walls, lichened roofs, uncertain chimneys,
Some trees and grass between;
But Abingdon has reached out,
Snatching our open spaces,
Squeezing the hamlet, deafening our ears,
Removing its grace.
And I am left, enclosed, to enfold my humans,
Their bickering and laughter,
And feel the thump of their feet
Tickle my beams and rafters.
As ever, I keep them warm
Till their time is done,
And guard them like a hen on her clutch,
Winking at the sun.
© Justin Gosling