Much like a church,
Of golden sandstone,
First a wide and gentle arch,
Reeded, moulded, grooved, supported
By a pair of capitols,
Which make a pair of shelves.
A sandstone threshold
Made for tripping,
Then the flagged floor, sloping, dipping,
To the massive pegged front door,
And to the right a slab to lie on,
Table height or thereabouts,
To stay quite still, so I could spy on
Swallows flitting in and out.
And up above the beams and joists
In oak and deal, faded grey,
And then, without, the summer sky,
The long flagged path and drystone wall,
The sagging gate, the summer day.
And tangled Duke of Argylls Tea Plant
Growing all the crusty way,
Sending arching branches over,
With narrow willow leaves,
and pretty flowers small and purple,
Loved by endless honey bees.
The crustiness was silver lichen,
Growing in its patchy clusters,
Rough and hard and unforgiving.
And then there was the bell,
A teal colour, Verdigris, or maybe paint.
It hung where it was meant for ringing,
With a pull of linked, wrought iron,
Rusted to a deep, dark brown.
Though people pulled we seldom heard them,
Though its voice was aught but faint.
On the left the strange and best bit,
A smooth and well worn, low down shelf,
Hollowed out in several places,
Little ponds for paying wages,
Like inverted swallows nests.
These were perhaps the ancient plague stones,
Conversation points for guests,
Standing looking round and waiting
Hoping we would hear their ringing,
Push the two-foot- thick, black bolt back,
Into its deep hiding space,
And pull the door back, sunlight flooding
Into the dark corridor.