… “Thic” being an old West Country word for “that”. This is a poem from a couple of years ago I thought might go nicely with a montage of local tracks and byways…
If you follow Wiltshire paths
And stop to admire a plant
That Lob would know the name of
When you, of course, do not – Lob
Who has walked these paths and hills
For years and centuries past –
And if with a laugh you call
Lob each old fellow you pass
Who bestows on you a gap-
Toothed, gentle smile and whips his
Switch into cowslip and tall grass,
And asks of you, ‘Where bist goin’?’
And when you say, ‘To the Plain’,
Says, ‘Then follow thic path thur’;
And if you follow Lob’s path
Between hedges and old trees —
Feeling the slippery chalk
Beneath your feet guiding you
Upward, on towards the Plain,
Where a white horse, all broken
Triangles, runs across the hills,
And you slip down a bank into
A ditch, cut with horn and flint,
And grasping at wind-blown grass
Haul yourself up the other side —
You will walk, at long last, out
Onto the down’s flat tops where
Sunlight falls on barrows and combes.
Here larks flute and buntings jangle.
And you want to reach out, to touch
A sky so wide horizons
Fall beyond your mortal arms.
Blue dazzled in this palace
Of light, you now know what
Old man Lob will always know:
I have inherited a home
Of unfailing splendour.
And passing wonderful.