Flashes Of Childhood 4; The Village, Longrigend.
Poem by Margery Rehman
Upon a hill, the manse dominated the landscape.
The largest house for many miles; double storeyed.
Ten rooms with outhouses, solid dark stone,
My mother's childhood home.
Winding past the manse, the road led down to the church,
Which stood way down in the valley, by the crook of the river,
Opposite a small disused paper mill.
A simple church, symbol of an austere, simple people.
Below the manse on the other side,
A couple of cobbled streets, cottage lined,
Led past a tiny post office, grocery shop and pub
To the two roomed village school-unutilised and empty.
To the north, derelict, stark remains of the coal mine,
Flooded pre-war, when the village began its slow decline.
To the south they worked the peat, cutting it line by line,
Laying it out like a dark chessboard along the hill's incline.
Lower down, a small coppice of slim, silver birches
The only trees in this vast, peat bogged moor.
Further on, stood large, lonely boulders, clothed in moss,
Great guardians of a forgotten land, brooding on some ancient loss.
For their company, only sheep, and moorhens hiding in the grass,
The odd curlew, wading in the marsh,
And the peewits high above, calling over and over again;
Their mournful cries like ghostly voices from the past.
Windswept, almost deserted,
The village somehow clung on,
Holding out as long as it could
Before the moors claimed it back as their own.
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