Cotswold Tales: From Purgatory to Paradise

Two names in a landscape, two names on a map,

Two recusant affirmations of faith,
Near Knapp House Barn, where travelers gathered
To journey through metaphor and field,
From Purgatory to Paradise,
From a copse at Slad to Painswick pastures.
But I came as a Puritan, not Pardoner,
On my personal Pilgrim’s Progress,
To walk these redemptive hills and valleys,
In search of dispensation and indulgence.
Our throng of allegory was all there:
Evangelist, Obstinate, Help, Pliable,
Wordly Wise, Good Will, Despair, Faithful,
Legality, Civility, Ignorance, Hopeful,
All climbing through glades of wild garlic,
Sweet meadow-seas of Timothy,
Cock’sfoot, Sweet Vernal and Bugle,
(The Wicket Gate, Slough of Despond,
The Hill of Difficulty, the Shining Light)
Along Civil War holloways, steeply
Banked with diffident Honesty,
(The Valley of Humiliation, Vanity Fair,
House Beautiful, Mount Clear)
Past Swift’s Hill, Elcombe, Steanbridge,
Trillgate Farm, Bull’s Cross, Longridge,
Damsell’s Farm, sluice and weir and Damsell’s Mill,
By witches’ broom and yellow archangel,
(The River of Death and Delectable Mountains)
Up shaded streamside bedrock paths,
To reach Paradise and mythic Celestial City,
There in a thistledown cow pat field,
Below a hidden lane beneath the A46,
Where Paradise House does indeed have many rooms,
And CCTV too.
A wonderful walk led by Ali Kayley and Dan Glaister.
Many thanks to them – mythopoeic meandering at its best.