Friday, 24 August 2007

River Mole

Crossing the Mole towards Box Hill

We parked beyond the rattling bridge, and took
The river path intent on walking far,
At our side farmed fields, slopes looming
To the left, eager as we’d seen
The clocks go forward, and the young leaves –
And, being older, my brother had a plan.

Before the stout new ones were safely laid
There used to be old stepping stones –
Moss-covered, weed-slippery, yet still there
Where swollen waters slid, their speedless curves
Leaving brown bubbles and a wake of silver;
And with our rubber soles we went from one to one,
That Spring day, climbed the steep incline
Of the wood-covered hill they led us to,
Hanging on to roots and trunks, until
We came to the strange tombstone
Near the summit, hidden amongst twigs and stems.

This man – the inscription clearly said –
Was buried upside down; the reason,
All the world is topsy turvy,
Walks the wrong way up, and so in Heaven
He would be the only one to enjoy
The trick of standing on his feet.

George Lavellier – just proud
Of the encroach of Nature – like
The stepping stones – his tomb
A statement for unwary ramblers,
Capsule of subversive logic; though the currents
Of fashion go noiselessly by,
He’s always hip and wittily eccentric.
I took him as a hero then, and benefactor
Bequeathing the best tonic he knew:
Subsequent decades confirm
From high up there, the illustrious view.


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