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A Wiltshire Tale - Nick Harper
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Fleets of Bedford rascals make like shepherds for the border
bringing treats and tasty parcels past the grasp of law and order
to a man who mows a meadow just a mile or so from Marlborough
with his silo bins of psylocybin hidden underwater
moonraking making merry modern mirthful smirking mortals
as crop circle tourists searching for the perfect portal
and one-percenters hurtle on in bounty laden bentleys
the centre of their world’s beyond this county evidently
so Farmer Giles smiles gently ‘gainst a stile as if a sentry
his dog the vale air snorts a plenty faithful four and twenty
who hackles up and means to bark but checks his master’s feelings lest
he should put to flight the figure who approaches over the crest
for neither know nor friend nor for like this unbidden guest
who settles there the stile his chair and utters this bequest
“I am that man they call old Nicolas Flamel who cannot die
quicksilver streams immortal dreams between you and my eye
for I was here many a long year before big belly oak was a sapling
from the hill-fort down to the village green I saw tribal teams a-grappling
where Merlin’s mound bound magic in the chalk down ground and the causeway side
where the white horse rides in the bright night sky when the bourne is high and wide
where was a hill hand-harrowed with the marrow of the barrow and the megalith henges aligned
now golf course buggies caddy daddies to the sand and the modern day tumuli
where Romans dropped their coins in wells and lit candles for their friends
they came they saw they left and burnt the sandal at both ends
this shire the spear of Alfred’s Wessex put the danelaw men to run
lashed from here to Essex with rock hard cakes and the English tongue
where templars sharpened swords of steel on standing sarsen stones
where the wind cries ‘myrtle’ round hangman’s tree and the old oak gibbet moans
again crusaders train on the bustard plain to flatten saracen homes
with broadband waistline uptown download chatroom ringtone phones”
and there at last he stopped and cast a graven eye at dog and man
and he said with weary I wish no more to live beyond what mortals can
and he reached deep down in his cloak and he offered up a pebble in his open hand
and said, “here have this stone that grants a neverending span”
but the farmer laughed and said, “why you know not who I am
why none other than that famous feted Giles of Ham
who took the book from the dragon’s nook and stopped time’s falling sand
and I’ve a stone of my own so you take yours and get off my land!”

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Posted by Jane
30th October 2006ce

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