Today we’ll learn to build a wordstone wall,
substantial as the one before you now.
It must survive hard frosts; wild gales and squalls;
ride seismic shifts; endure the shunts of cows.
First we think about what it’s for.
The purpose might be to keep your chattels penned
or keep intruders out.
It may define the boundaries of your tract
or simply be aesthetic.
Consider this the “message”.
Then we plot its layout
(plot, of course, is synonymous with narrative).
It must begin one place and end someplace
which may be the same place
or may be any place other.
Do we bend it around obstacles
or grub the obstacles out?
In difficult terrain
will we take the easy route
by following the contours,
or head direct for our destination
up and down the slopes?
Remember: there is always more than one route
from intro to conclusion!
Then we lay a sturdy foundation,
an integral trope to underpin the entirety.
It must run solid and level
from one end to the other.
Look at the one I’ve put in here.
Stand on it, jump up and down on it:
it should not move.
our turn blocks. to Let’s building now
scattered lying words Stones wall. vocabulary are randomly of the
organise We them structure. into an must orderly
To do this we arrange them in “courses”,
by which I mean horizontal lines
which should fit together precisely,
each distinct and self-contained
but nesting snugly with its neighbours.
A good wall is in fact two walls:
two “faces” that lean in towards each other.
Two-facèdness in people is considered a failing
but this ambiguity in our wall makes it sturdy.
It’s vital we station some through-stones to couple the faces:
substantial great blocks that can bridge the whole width of the job
and hold it together. They must be at regular intervals:
almost a rhythm but better described as a metre.
Positioning them too much apart you will diminish the effectiveness of them:
more closely placed they make a stronger wall.
And don’t neglect the “hearting”: smaller shards
of rock that pack the void between the faces,
articles as vital as the rest,
conjunctives in the grammar of this craft.
You must ensure the hearting’s firm, compact,
and always filled up level with the course.
Waller ignores pays price.
Then finally we mount the crowning glory:
the heavy capstones I deem mandatory
(though most of my compeers insist they’re not
and all their walls collapse for want of them.)
The capstones may be raw, unfinished boulders
to lend the wall a thrill of rugged wildness,
but if you are a waller who’s obsessed
with compass curves, your capstones will be dressed
as perfect semicircles. Caps span time
diverse in forms as any poet’s dreams:
they're wheels or domes or drums, or backward smeared
with such deep moss you can’t discern the shape
but lodged within, a block asserts its weight:
it clamps the edifice intact by pressure.
For stock-walls, matching caps may coincide
but if less for utility than pleasure
don’t place same-coloured capstones side by side.
It’s trendy nowadays to break these rules,
and chuck it all together any how.
The past, no doubt, contained its share of fools
but many wordstone walls are centuries old,
the work of Master Craftsmen, standing now
and fit to last until the sun burns cold.
walls by built see ancient won’t fools You
down. they’ve because fallen all