On Sunday 24th it was snowing in London. The ground quickly became draped with a crisp white blanket and I decided to escape the city and head to one of my favourite spots. I took a wander around the Wey River where Newark Abbey sits proudly despite its ruined facades and open roof leaving the last of its walls exposed to the elements. There’s something quite magical about the place, an enchanted eeriness made more so by flocks of geese circling around the marsh. I wanted to share a poem written about the abbey by the late English novelist Michael Love Peacock… hope you enjoy it.
I gaze, where August's sunbeam falls
Along these grey and lonely walls,
Till in its light absorbed appears
The lapse of five-and-thirty years.
If change there be, I trace it not
In all this consecrated spot:
No new imprint of Ruin's march
On roofless wall and frameless arch:
The hills, the woods, the fields, the stream,
Are basking in the self-same beam:
The fall, that turns the unseen mill
As then it murmured, murmurs still:
It seems, as if in one were cast
The present and the imaged past,
Spanning, as with bridge sublime,
That awful lapse of human time,
That gulph, unfathomably spread
Between the living and the dead.
For all too well my spirit feels
The only change this place reveals:
The sunbeams play, the breezes stir,
Unseen, unfelt, unheard by her,
Who, on that long-past August day,
First saw with me those ruins grey.
Whatever span the fates allow,
Ere I shall be as she is now,
Still in my bosom's inmost cell
Shall that deep-treasured memory dwell:
That, more than language can express,
Pure miracle of loveliness,
Whose voice so sweet, whose eyes so bright,
Were my soul's music, and its light,
In those blest days, when life was new,
And hope was false, but love was true.
See you next week,