Oakridge Walk February 23rd 2019
(Qui feratus est asinus est scriptor prandium?)
‘When vapours rolling down a valley
Made a lonely scene more lonesome’,
Wrote Wordsworth in The Prelude –
Well, we weren’t lonely, a group of ten
Walking through early morning mists and fog,
Discussing enclosure of Oakridge common land,
A death-threatening letter for the squire,
Demeaning shouts of ‘Who stole the donkey’s dinner?’
Loud following him on his daily rounds
Past Lilyhorn Farm and Bournes Green.
A watery sun shone vaporous
As we stopped at a spectral crossroads,
Cogitating upon the Roman villa,
Down in the nearby fields of Bakers Farm,
Then processing Neolithic track-ways,
Past a field of sheep and hidden long barrow,
The sun now silvering the streams that run
Down to the Frome and thence to the Severn.
Spring was in the air: blossom and catkins,
While on the ground, snowdrops and primroses,
Celandine, daffodils, and wild garlic,
Autumn’s crab apple windfalls perfectly
Preserved, still, in bare branched woodland.
We sat down at Strawberry Bank,
A butterfly arcing through the air,
Just where a Battle of Britain dogfight
Brought down a Junkers 88 bomber,
In the field right behind our resting backs;
We climbed up to St Bartholomew’s Church,
Thence to Wear Farm, the birthplace and home
Of Charles Mason of the Mason-Dixon Line:
We drew lines on our own maps of the past,
To take our varied ways back into the present,
But knowing if we whistle loud and clear,
Then we shall all be able to hear
‘Qui feratus est asinus est scriptor prandium ?
Wherever we are and wherever we go.
Qui feratus est asinus est scriptor prandium ?