The village clock, with deep and tasteful chime,
Which marks the passing of the years which lie behind,
And hardly register upon my mind,
Because they mark my children’s childhood time.
The robin, blackbird, long-tailed tit and wren,
The endless wood pigeons and heron’s cry,
The oyster catchers and the widgeon whistling by,
The starlings and the jackdaws and magpie,
All with volume set at full blast, ten,
And ten times louder yet, the thrush,
Repeating, getting clearer, almost shrill,
All do their best above the traffic’s rush,
The cars and trucks which swish and swoop and fly
Across the bridge above the Ouse, beneath the sky.
And yet they leave me longing for some real hush,
The silence of my rural childhood, deep,
Broken now and then by curlews trill
Or bleating of a sad and soulful ewe,
Or chorus of a lullaby of sheep,
Not far away, but always out of view,
The silence of that decade of decline,
When all the country round seemed only mine
The silence of a country going to sleep.