Sunday, 24 August 2014

One Man's Meadows

Just upriver, a little way out of town, the grass grows thick on the sloping ground. Cows graze and the thistledown blows. Boys come with fishing hooks and nets to catch minnows in the shallows.

A year or two later perhaps, those boys find an old boat riddled with holes, paint the old punt and patch it with pitch, then learn to handle both paddle and pole. River boys in the summer.

In the slanting evenings they pass the cider down the length of the boat. Singing bawdy shanties and reeling home on rusty bicycles.

Then there are girls, guitars and poetry. Rupert Brooke rubs shoulders with Roger Waters out here on Grantchester Meadows. The ghosts of Lord Byron and Virginia Woolf still swim naked beneath the willows, while downstream the townspeople remember the doings of Augustus John and party.

Sharing the wine and staring at the moon. Thinking of astrology and astronauts. Lingering long in the kissing gates.

Wandering in winter, carrying a camera. The river rises and the river falls.

Friends leave and friends return. Farmers and zoologists, musicians and mothers, and just like the words of a Bob Dylan song, "Some are mathematicians, some are carpenters' wives". Ginger-haired toddlers are led by the hand and lifted over the stiles. Picnics on Long Meadow.

The hay is cut, the cows come in for milking. In the late afternoon laughing youngsters in wheelchairs come bumping down to the riverside, watching the boats to see if anyone falls in. 

An old man stands at the brow of the slope looking down at it all. Like everybody else he's only there for a while then he passes on. Memories are safely stored in the trees along by the river.

Take care.



  1. Evocative and beautifully written John. And is there honey still for tea?

  2. Beautiful prose to accompany lovely photos. If only the trees could talk . . . .

  3. John, this is a fine, poetic tale of the cycle of life.

  4. Beautiful touching post John - full of wonderful images and reflections.

  5. You're a poet in words and pictures. Touching. It all looks idyllic.

  6. This is magical in photography and poetry. Beautiful in every way. Thank you.

  7. caught the magic of the river, summer and youth--sweet memories

    I think I walked near there when on our visit--swans were coming down the river and cows were in the pasture--I really felt the English countryside-
    we had tea at the Orchard under what seemed to be ancient apple trees
    I'll never forget it

  8. These photos are beautiful and the words that accompany them are wonderful, lovely post :)

  9. A delightful series of images, John - I especially like the wavy green water and the dragonfly shots! Thank you for sharing this beautiful area with us. (and for dropping by my blog again!)


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