Hall Place – a fragment

Hall Place


Hall Place

Mansion by the Cray
               17th century red brick
conjoined to Tudor checkerboard
               of flint and rubble
A rectangular rose garden
               sweeps down to the river
So many years of my life
               drained away here
Across from the topiary
               a wide open pasture
where families graze
               where lovers lie
in the summer-long grass
               where the restless wander
up to the rockery
               wormwood and wild garlic
poinsettias and marigolds
               It’s a place to visit
when life no longer crowds you out
               or weighs upon your shoulders
its trees have known generations
               and sheltered them
with kindly indifference
               from scorching summer suns
from sudden seasonal downpours
               Ducks abound—
one of the main attractions
               their ugly offspring
reminding us that quite possibly
               we may with age improve
Only the majestically sumptuous swans
               keep their distance
aristocratic to the core
               their blood never mingling
never consorting with lesser species

Over the weir
               the waters rush
creating a stream of brilliant white foam
               the suds of which
gradually subside
               into a mirror-smooth surface
These waters once held
               her reflection
her short dark hair that barely
               touched her shoulders
held our reflection as we kissed :
               into these waters
we poured such innocent love

                perhaps our dreams
and as evening fell
               home we tramped
hand-in-hand
               across the narrow
gravel pathway
               back into the abrasive
bustling world
               in which so little
stands still for long
               in which next to nothing
not even love
               lasts forever

John Lyons

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