All round the knoll, on days of quietest air,
Secrets are being told; and if the trees
Speak out — let them make uproar loud as drums —
‘Tis secrets still, shouted instead of whisper’d.
There must have been a warning given once:
No tree, on pain of withering and sawfly,
To reach the slimmest of his snaky toes
Into this mounded sward and rumple it;
All trees stand back: taboo is on this soil.
The trees have always scrupulously obeyed.
The grass, that elsewhere grows as best it may
Under the larches, countable long nesh blades,
Here in clear sky pads the ground thick and close
As wool upon a Southdown wether’s back;
And as in Southdown wool, your hand must sink
Up to the wrist before it find the roots.
A bed for summer afternoons, this grass;
But in the Spring, not too softly entangling
For lively feet to dance on, when the green
Flashes with daffodils.
From Marcle way,
From Dymock, Kempley, Newent, Bromesberrow,
Redmarley, all the meadowland daffodils seem
Running in golden tides to Ryton Firs,
To make the knot of steep little wooded hills
Their brightest show: O bella età de l’oro!
Now I breathe you again, my woods of Ryton:
Not only golden with your daffodil-fires
Lying in pools on the loose dusky ground
Beneath the larches, tumbling in broad rivers
Down sloping grass under the cherry trees
And birches: but among your branches clinging
A mist of that Ferrara-gold I first
Loved in the easy hours then green with you;
And as I stroll about you now, I have
Accompanying me — like troops of lads and lasses
Chattering and dancing in a shining fortune —
Those mornings when your alleys of long light
And your brown rosin-scented shadows were
Enchanted with the laughter of my boys.
by Lascelles Abercrombie