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In a Valley of Many Ash Trees

In a Village of Many Ash Trees


Palm Sunday 2014

the clock of St. Leonard will tell only

one time. Two minutes to eight.


It’s four-thirty,

a shattered sunlight catches on

gravestones, hides names from view,


keeps the late of this parish, secret;

causes you to struggle as you read their fate

in polished marble or mis-placed lead letters.


Sad tales of eyes that never opened on the world

or cast a glance at siblings who made it

to eleven months or the maturity of ten years.


Floral gifts of spring-flowers sway

in the breeze, add brightness to the end of a day

that has become bone-cold. Pebbles and


slate are placed by the graves of  some, and

names, not obviously Jewish, beg more questions.

Is it a copied sentiment or a stand-off against


Paganism, or neither? Is it perhaps a way of

remembering the past and those who filled it,

or a way of making a sorrow easier to bear?


Time moves on, but for those here resting

it is constant. They are all of an age, thirty years.

In life, a peak; in death, a life everlasting.


These beliefs are older than St Leonard, older

than the good man from Limoges remembered in

twelth-century Derbyshire.


They are as old as the first

Palm-Sunday when a man rode into Jerusalem and

heard ‘Hosanna’, even then knowing that


the praises wouldn’t last, even then knowing

that his time was approaching,

that he was being called home.


The wind drops, and now

 a faint sun takes away the chill

as evening beckons.


The hands on the clock are still.

It will be two minutes to eight

a while longer.

* This poem, as the first stanza tells, was written a few years ago. It was written on Palm Sunday after a visit to Monyash in Derbyshire, and the place gives the poem its title. As with a lot of writing you never know which way they will go, and poems especially, I find, take on a life of their own. I have added this to my blog on here, today, Good Friday, as it seems appropriate both for the season and the strange times we are living in at the moment. Keep safe one and all. x

EasterGood FridayMonyash

◄ Universal Time Co-ordinated: June 30th 2015



Sat 11th Apr 2020 09:52

Tolling the knell of parting days (Gray) a poignant read Margaret.

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Greg Freeman

Sat 11th Apr 2020 08:12

Appropriate indeed, Margaret, whatever your beliefs or non-beliefs.Timely and well-wrought.

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Adam Whitworth

Sat 11th Apr 2020 01:29

Margaret, it's a great tonic to read this. Well done and thank you.

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