Stockbridge by Caroline Baldock

Sleepy market town – wake up – rouse yourself
From slumber. Swell your river as it rushes through
With memories. Lidless the river’s eyes,
See that all the racing’s gone.
Once horses flowed through your veins
Not just rivers; great horses;
The Tetrarch, bold in his mottled coat,
The fastest horse ever to grace the English turf.
His name’s whispered on the wind
That rolls across the Salisbury plain.

Do you remember Atty Pearse, Tom and Day?
Or are your memories buried beneath
Silent sunlit mounds quiet as a church yard.
Only the crows call from ancient elms – voices of dead men,
Only the crows watch as time passes,
In the silence graves mossy lichen-covered stones
Sit like old men leaning on each other,
Know, know about horses,
Know that once long ago races brought crowds
And flags and bright bells and cups
And wine and beer and cheer
And all things fine to sleepy Stockbridge.

Only the crows and a sleepy mole that burrows
Between the resting stable lads hear their secrets.
Old St Peter’s church cold as a fridge
Traps medieval air between its beams and windows.
I touch the air and in its calm are horses galloping.

Wake up Stockbridge, like spring
Poke your delicate flowering heads of memories out
And see the past again in metall’d step
With head held high in ‘Spotted Wonder’
And all that gave and fed upon this sleepy market town.

Copyright © 2008 Caroline Baldock