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Page 11

Newsletter 102, Autumn 2013  © Hampshire Mills Group

 

The Brook, by Alfred Lord Tennyson

I come  from  haunts  of  coot  and  hern;
I make a sudden sally And sparkle out among the fern,
To  bicker down  a  valley.   By  thirty  hills  I hurry  down,
Or  slip  between  the  ridges,  By  twenty  thorpes,  a  little  town,
And  half  a  hundred  bridges.  Till  last  by  Philip's  farm I  flow
To  join  the  brimming  river,  For  men  may  come  and  men  may  go,
But  I  go  on  for  ever.
I  chatter  over  stony  ways,  In  little  sharps  and  trebles,
I  bubble  into  eddying  bays,  I  babble  on  the  pebbles.
With  many  curves  my  banks  I  fret  by  many  the  field  and  fallow,
and  many  a  fairy  foreland  set,  with  willow  weed  and  mallow.
Oh  bosky  brook,  which  I  have  loved  to  trace
through  all  thy  green  and  winding ways,
wandering  in  the  pure  light  of  youthful  days….
The  voiceful   influx  of  thy  tangled  rills
how  happy  were  the  fresh  and  dewy  years ….by  thy  damp  and  rushy  side.
Or  dimples  in  the  dark  of  the  rushy  coves,
Drawing  into  his  earthen urn,  in  every  elbow  and  turn
the  filtered  tribute  of  the  rough  woodland  under  either  a  grassy  brink
in  many  a  silver  loop  and  link.   So  knew  I every  rill  that  danced,
the  netted  beam  on  sandy  shelves,   the  foambell  into  eddies  glanced,
the  wanton  ripples  chased  themselves.
A  thousand  suns  will  stream  on  thee,   A  thousand  moons  will  quiver,
but  not  by  thee  my  steps  shall  be,  for ever  and  for  ever.
I  loved  the  brimming  waves  that  swam  through  quiet  meadows  round  the  mill,
the  sleepy  pool  above  the  dam,  the  pool  beneath  it  never  still…
The  meal  sacks   on  the  whitened  floor,  the  dark  round  of  the  dripping  wheel,
the  very  air  about  the  door,  made  misty  with  the  floating  meal.
I  loved  from  off  the  bridge  to  hear  the  rushing  sound  the  water  made,
And  see  the  fish  that  everywhere  in the back  current  glanced  and  played.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Tennyson was born in Lincolnshire surrounded by windmills such as Heckington and Leverton yet wrote poems about a miller’s daughter, a watermill and the boundless energy of the mill stream that sped through it.     Every Tuesday morning I co-chair a poetry session in a care home with a 98 year old ex -schoolteacher who was born in a house opposite Leverton Mill, watched the wheat growing locally , saw it milled  and ate the bread baked with it by the village baker. Tennyson, of course, is Esme’s favourite poet and she recites all poems, but especially his, in a beautiful, clear, bell-like and expressive voice. 

                                                                                                                                                             Sheila.

 

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