Seven Hundred Years of Grief Ago by Iris Anne Lewis
Water reives a son. An heir is drowned,
lies in Kempsford’s marshy ground.
The House of Lancaster bereaved.
A grief-spurred gallop, a horse shoe lost,
retrieved and nailed upon the stout church door.
It still hangs there, a hoof-shaped heart
framed by a Norman arch.
A good luck symbol charged with sorrow.
Grief pulses in this old stone porch
Yesterday, today, tomorrow.
Under new management by Iris Anne Lewis
Moored like ships beneath the sign
the skips are full of cargo.
Battered tables, broken chairs thrown
higgledy-piggledy in the hold,
jostling with threadbare cushions and
beer-stained carpets loosely rolled.
Only the sign remains.
Twelve painted bells, solid black on white,
sway gently in the breeze, while in the distance
church bells chime, twelve notes rippling
across the Cotswold town.
A new sign, fresh painted, hangs there now.
Bluebells, dainty, nodding, on a buttermilk board.
A patch of springtime meadow suspended
above the tarmacked road.
But winter comes, and with it, fog and frost.
Across the rooftops church bells toll.
A chill wind blows, the pub sign rocks
and creaking, keens for something lost.