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P.R. HAY

Upper Slaughter, in the Cotswolds

Honeystone battens down the gentle ridge.
Above, Elizabethan transomed windows, and here -
here by the picnic sward, a troll-old bridge,
half-mooned, unrailed. Flowers trip sheer
to the stream, abundant, promiscuous;
on the bridge, ten and dainty, a girl dangles

a bare leg. It is toffee-box ridiculous,
jigsaw-puzzle perfect, without harsh angles -
I could almost welcome the troll.
We sink in a glut of history -
lost in manifold layers of time, 'old',
beyond comprehension, is a hinted mystery.

The Dobuni, it is thought, slew here - or were slain.
But honeystone battens memory down; the ghosts cry in vain.