The Thinking Poet


Summer Afternoon in Compton Beauchamp

Time erazes or defaces,

And little escapes its touch.

People and places

Thought safe in bastions of mind

Are lured,


Changed or decayed

By time's attrition.

Yet there are omissions

From its register of crimes:

This little church in the vale;

A white sail

On the calm sea of eternity.


Here in linden-scented air

Lulled by a drone of summer-heavy bees,

Approach the gate,

Pass leaning stones grown tired of standing straight,

Swing wide the weight of door that wafts cool mustiness of walls,

And rest upon your knees.


Prayer is not a liturgy

Or rhetoric of verse,

But an unstrained stance in stillness;

A slow climb towards the cliff's edge

From where acres of ocean

And oceans of sky

Meet at a line that defines

The death of time.


And the craft of self

Sets sail towards that line

Which like a star

Beckons from afar.


St.Swithun's; Compton Beauchamp; July 17 `96