Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Nineteen Thirty Six

And here- vaguely related to the foregoing posts- is a poem I wrote about twenty years ago.

                                    NINETEEN THIRTY-SIX


                                    The picture hangs in our hallway.  It's a print

                                    Not signed or anything grand, by Rowland Hilder,

                                    Which shows a country road, like Hobbema's

                                    At Middleharnis, which the connoisseur

                                    Is walking down.  In prospect there are elms,

                                    A couple of big hay ricks and a man,

                                    Steering a horse-drawn plough.  Finally hills.

                                    He painted it in nineteen thirty-six.


                                    It's honest work.  It just gets on with the job

                                    Of putting a view across.  It might have served

                                    That year in Russia if he'd gone and stuck

                                    A tractor in there, for the modern movement

                                    Doesn’t impinge at all.  It could be any

                                    Year in the past two hundred.  As it is

                                    The year means something.  Nineteen thirty-six

                                    Was the year that Kipling, Chesterton, Housman died.


                                    It's running thin, that pastoral tradition.

                                    It's like the river Roche, the living water

                                    Canalised as it flows through Rochdale centre,

                                    Buried deep in a fosse.  Almost unseen,

                                    The shallow flood goes past the library                         

                                    And seven tower blocks, an anomaly,

                                    Not carrying freight or turning wheels and yet

                                    Unstoppable.  And nice to know it's there.

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