Shabby Cheek - let time stand still
I was fortunate enough to go for a country walk after a lovely Sunday lunch in Berks or was it Bucks (confused boundaries but at least it wasn't Starbucks). It was one of those halcyon days when the City is a distant memory and you wished you lived in cottage, completely relaxed, day job a million miles away.
Everything was slow. The only buzz was bees around the flowers that hung in front of the 18th century pub, which thankfully is not gentrified. There's been some updating but at least it's not shabby chic as is the trend now (as in my poem Horrorstocracy Gentrified out of all control - no soul, Just boutiqued into non recognition) and it drives me mad.
I have recently discovered Ian Nairn - a man who should have been Prime Minister in my book! He fought the town planners who destroyed our town centres eventually. He died young (age 53) from alcoholism and liver failure - his admirers comment that he thinks he failed (life? saving Britain from the nihilism of concrete dross?).
He seems a kindred spirt who wanted to keep the past alive, renovate old buildings - not flatten them and replace with soulless montrosities. He did have good things to say about some modern buildings but as long as they were built well and in the right place. He was a passionate but down to earth man who appreciated an aesthetically good town centre! He wanted people to stop being listless and fight for their towns and cities. He also liked the combination of pubs, people and preservation of natural beauty.
I wonder what he'd think now? He died in 1983 but I've just found him. In a way this poem the walk inspired me to frantically add reminders to my calendar on my phone, is for him. It's rushed so not perfect but wanted to get it down write about the lime green butterflies, which I have never seen before and now know to be called Brimstone, flew around our heads who escaped the birds who get to eat them as caterpillars.
Time stood still moments
Like in Kensal Green Cem
In my favourite place
Where the bending of the wild rose
Highlights Victorian grave names
Long tail tits
Flew around our heads
Like caressing angels
Honouring us like a family acceptance
Coot shoots across the pond
Near the shabby cheek pub
Where we had lunch
A cold shudder as I wonder
Will it be gentrified?
Leave it alone
It all fits
Like it did in the film Genevieve
Among the leaves and the pond
With smatterings of frogspawn
Petrol blue and green dragonflies mating
Making me greenvious of their bond
A lone bee sucking the nectar of Foxgloves
Digitalis purpura - a healer of the heart
O' Ian it could have mended yours
It heals mine just to look at it
If you could, like the bee
have popped in and out of the purple bells
instead of your local pub
Joined in the battles of birdsong
In nature untouched
Leave the natural beauty
Leave the camouflage for the lime green butterflies to touchdown
Brimstones of fire living out their numbered days
Posted by Wendy Young, 3 June 2014
Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 11 May 2016