Encounters - Poem by Ivor Gurney
One comes across the strangest things in walks,
Fragment of Abbey tithe barns fixed in modern,
With Dutch-sort houses, where the water baulks
Weired up, and brick-kilns broken among fern.
Old troughs, great stone cisterns bishops might have blessed
And baptized from, most worthy mounting stones;
Black timber in red brick, surprisingly placed
Where hill stone was looked for, and a manor's bones
Spied in the frame of some wisteria'd house,
And mill-falls and sedge-pools, and Saxon faces
Stream sources happened upon in unlikely places
And Roman looking hills of small degree.
The surprise, the good in dignity of poplars
At a roads end, or the white Cotswold scars.
Sheets spread out spotless against the hazel tree.
But toothless old men, bubbling over with jokes
And deadly serious once the speaking finished.
Beauty is less after all than strange comical folks
And the wonder of them never and never can become diminished.
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