While oak trees tilt to leeward, like giant yachts
And waves of barley catch the rising breeze,
Busy robins rustle in the undergrowth
And feisty sparrows guard their territories.
In quiet, shadowed vales, on miles of dusty hillside,
Consider a tinkling brook beneath overhanging trees
Where Coleridge would let his wild imagination ride;
Where Dot recorded Will’s pained, impassioned pleas.
What is-it about the English and their countryside?
And how does-it define their personality?
The need to beat the bounds each year at Eastertide;
To pick hedgerow flowers and cherries for their tea.
Sturdy native species hiding their troubles with bluff,
Who, rather than crumple, bury their feelings alive.
Crafty as weasels, they harry and chide, just-enough,
To retire, in style, in their long-treasured countryside.
“Remember to bring a rain-hat and to shut the gate”
“And a walking stick to reach the taller brambles”
As we trot outdoors in order to investigate
And find … paradise in our own mid-morning rambles.
M R McBride