With thanks to Bob Fry for the prologue and Robin Treefellow for his stream of consciousness imagery.
Dusty spikes of blue Bugle
Hemlock Water Dropwort.
Cow Parsley and May Blossom, shining white in the green hedgerows, everywhere.
Early swallows skimming the air above the buttercup meadows (where Robin recited his poems)
The Dream of Nailsworth
The waters’ intonation
washed in Nailsworth.
Before the cloth mills,
before the cars brought their disquiet
the waters sang among alders.
The world was a flicker of a fish
hiding from the heron.
Nailsworth knew nothing of Egypt’s pyramids
or the fall of Carthage.
Softly persisting to go where its water went,
Nailsworth bred dreams and spawned thousands of little worlds in marshy meadows.
A lush sap soaked mind prevailed
as Nailsworth wrapped woods about its hills,
it was all you could hear: the pulse of sap to water to sap.
Rolling inward like a vortex
drawing a secret power.
Unknown to the world
Nailsworth in its valley
singing other times.
the animals are gods in Nailsworth’s bosky gospel.
Where is the nail?
In the bend about water running
going up the boggled lane
through the settled crease of one cottage
a throw of luck stone
towards the moon’s dying corner
where is the nail?
in places snickering with froxsome springs
where delving badgers are between
the meadows once here with roots under gone
to weaving whereabouts to dreams in soil deep
of worms singing to butter tub moons
I know by irksome way and fiddly path
the nail is here.
there in the creak croak of fulling mill,
rumbling wheel rolling water
the clatter whack of loom frame in a damp walled hug slope cottage
in crying out owls from mouldy heart ash trees
by slippery sliding road ice
the nail is here.
Jingling in pennies and knotted in travellers joy.
in the places, the lostings and found things, today and yesterday,
moon lamped and in the going, the staying.
the nail is what put it together.
the nail is what had the cockerels crowing.