Thursday, 6 March 2014

Denne Hill Walk 1/3/14

Bundled boys into the car
Avoiding eye contact with neighbour cleaning car
He most likely heard my shouts
No dialogue just a stiff wave
Head bowed shammy in motion
Drive into centre towards old town
Where are we going dad?
Park between two transits
On historic street leading to parish church
Lucky to find a space on Sunday
Youngest tells me I look like a tourist
Large digital slr round neck
Walk past the exiting churchgoers
Daffodils swaying on the graves
A delicious contrast in the sun
Balloons tied to a gatepost
Now starting to shrivel a little
Youngest son darts away from the flag stone path
Down to the stream
Oh no exclaims eldest boy
We stoop to pull him out
Thick mud up to his thighs
Forced to beat a retreat
I drive home at speed
Youngest tells mother I hate him
I return to the historic street alone
This time parking with ease
Church has emptied out
The bell strikes eleven as I round the Norman bell tower
Daffodils sway this time in grey light
I go on up and over the bridge
Past the cricket ground
Pausing to fathom the score box
An enchanted house
Part facade part real.
On I go over the iron railway bridge
Marooned tree carcasses
Fallen heroes on the gently sloping field
Then whales split asunder
Charred blubber
I pass the remains of a fire
Empty (I presume) cans of cider
Please don’t light fires
Or take alcohol onto the property
Up and up past a brick gate post top
Left on the hill for sledgers benefit
Memorial iron bench at the summit
The spires hold no meaning
And I move on
The mud thickens and the undergrowth encroaches
The smell of decay rises
The boys would have loved this
Mud squelches slasher movie sound effect style
Fallen trunk across the slimy trail
Solid immobile and lifeless
I crouch underneath
On and on the smell rising
Branches and trunks split with brutal simplicity
No sense to this
And now as I reach another brow
The smell of burning creeps into the frame
The forest opens into a muddy plateau
A country house daddy building a bonfire
Daffodils below the wall of the plateaued garden
Ordered and compliant
This is a neighbourhood watch area
I turn back this time on tarmac drive
Slooshing my boots in pothole puddles
Back down into the woods
Weaving through the broken trunks
Back at the fallen oak I stop
Compelled to stroke the hulking form
Still slumped across the path
Its flesh still bright and glistening in the gash
That’s it old boy – all those years
All I can muster by way of comfort
New barbed wire fence
Leaves me wondering where to go now
Out of the woods to the top of the slope
Below I see their forms still lying there
Alone and exposed. Unseen.
Broken but still breathing
On top of the iron railway bridge
I close my eyes feeling suspended
A judder passes through my legs
A premonition of the London train
I watch it pass under me
Back then past the scoring-box
Down to the river
Children gathered in a huddle
Fizzy coke bottle rocket splurging
I smile and look away
That’s litter states a girl's voice
On I go this time another way
Out past a towering wall
Into a Sainsbury’s car park
So this is where I am
Then at last a cut-through
Back to the historic street
Returning to the car from the other side
Not a hero but somehow changed
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe



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