Spirit of the Commons

I see you, small child running,
kid brother braving Slidey Rock,
big sister on the big swing, I see you.

I see you, ladies smock, clover,
I see you, daisies, dandelions,
I see you. I see you, fox slinking,
rabbit nibbling. I see you,
dog-walker. I see you chatting.

I see you primrose, bluebell,
dog rose, stitchwort, campion.

I see you, cider kisses
in the Mayfair twilight,
I see you, young love
looking down on Lepers’ fields.

I see you, hawthorn frothing,
cow parsley foaming. I see you,
robin, blackbird, wren.

I see you, bird cherry,
petals drifting, I see you, acorn,
I see you, careful mother,
paddling toddler. I see you,
daredevil tree-climber,
den-builder, warrior.
I see you, staggering up
Barmaid’s path, I see you

ghosts on Roman Road;
I see you, half-believing
at the holy well, tying your
rag of coloured cloth.

I see you all.

We’re really lucky in Torrington that we have an actual commons. You can read about it here: https://www.torringtoncommons.org/ It’s a half-managed bit of half-wild land that half-circles the town. Kids play there, dogs are walked there, teenagers drink cider and get stoned, old folk walk on the flat bits. It borders on the Tarka Trail, where there’s cycling and strolling, and potential otter sightings. There’s a flat field at the top where there are car boot sales and a burger van, and Mr Hocking’s ice cream in the summer, and every few years there’s a massive, mad bonfire.http://www.torrington-cavaliers.co.uk/bonfire-2020-mayflower-1620/131-about-our-bonfire-29th-august-2020. (if you bother clicking that link – the ship is the bonfire!). It’s a really important bit of the town, used by everyone. Oh, and the big swing is terrifying.

Anyhow, this poem is for earthweal.


10 thoughts on “Spirit of the Commons

  1. This is so beautiful. I saw everything right along with you. How lovely that you have a real commons. Our village has what we call “the village green”, where we gather for saturday markets, and important gatherings and celebrations. It is very small though. The wildest critters using it are the teenage skateboarders. Smiles. I love your writing.


  2. Sorry Sarah, I read this and thought I had commented – I must have wondered off reading the link on the Torrington commons. “I see” is the voice of participation and presence, enabling us to comprehend how special the place is and yet daily — a relic understanding of culture and nature which rarely survives into the present. The witness keeps the past present – those ghosts on Roman Road, the well with its votive bows of prayer. Thanks for bringin’ it – B


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