Monday, 2 April 2007

Chapter 42: Siegfried Sassoon Poem

Siegfried Sassoon who lived at Heytesbury House, and wrote this poem in 1915 about Scratchbury Hill which lies just to the north of Norton Bavant in the Wylye valley.
(Scratchbury - the name is probably from the old west country word for the devil and burh - meaning ancient camp)

On Scratchbury Camp
Along the grave green downs, this idle afternoon,
Shadows of loitering silver clouds, becalmed in blue,
Bring, like unfoldment of a flower, the best of June.

Shadows outspread in spacious movement, always you
Have dappled the downs and valleys at this time of year,
While larks, ascending shrill, praised freedom as they flew.
Now, through that song, a fighter squadron's drone I hear
From Scratchbury Camp, whose turfed and cowslip'd rampart seems
More hill than history, ageless and oblivion - blurred.

I walk the fosse, once manned by bronze and flint head spear;
On war's imperious wing the shafted sun ray gleams:
One with the warm sweet air of summer stoops the bird.
Cloud shadows, drifting slow like heedless daylight dreams,
Dwell and dissolve; uncircumstanced they pause and pass.
I watch them go. My horse, contented, crops the grass

Heytesbury House

Website about Heytesbury:

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