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Adrian G R Scott

Adrian G R Scott

poetry photography guiding

poet photographer guide

Tofts Lane Cottages
Warm Barn in the Rivelin Valley
Looking into the Rivelin Valley at Dusk

Happy New Year

Tofts Lane

‘Living down there was like living in a bean pod; one could see nothing but the bed one lay in’ Cider with Rosie – Laurie Lee

 

The row of cottages nestles

into the crag in the same way

as the child above me shapes

her frame to her mother’s hip.

 

The buildings look down on me

as mother and daughter

greet me and my neck cricks up

to take in kind faces and sashed windows.

 

The drystone wall, like a breakwater

keeps the cottages from spilling into the

road my dog and I trudge daily.

 

Grace’s young voice,

lisped by chewing an apple,

is crammed with her new term.

Mrs Green is young,

there is also old Mrs Jameson

and on Wednesday, after lunch,

Miss Bankstone for story time.

 

The daughter’s garrulousness

emerges from maternal skirts,

cultivating the affinity

of our gate-side chats,

like tea in cups.

 

To Grace’s chagrin

grown-up talk begins,

her father from a top window,

his big plans that will

eat their weekends,

as the dog’s lead strains

against the current of our walk.

 

Both this woman’s grans

lived in the valley

leaving a long drift

of ancestral memory.

From the planting

of a line lime trees,

to the paddling of pools,

from old Matty’s well

to the quarry in Rivelin Glen.

 

I tell her of a photo

I found of our house

from early last century,

walls daubed with whitewash,

advertising teas and sweets

for the whit-walkers,

a boy and a girl at the door,

in their Sunday best.

 

The dog and Grace are restless,

pulling us away from the richness

of stretching our roots into

this mill-streamed, valley.

This green backwater

where we ply our subsistence,

as it always has been,

back into the horse drawn past.

 

In the last pass that

a good chat entails

we share that the virus

made us walk the valley more,

traverse more of its paths and tracks,

fall more for its green and shabby charms.

 

We have both seen the Barn Owl

as it swoops down Coppice Lane,

outspread over us,

cream and brown,

at once lonely and at home.

And the bat’s erratic

scattering progress

as the dusk catches

us unlatched and opened.

 

And we find we are breathing

in time with the valley,

finding green hope

in its sheltering edges,

nestling in like a

child to its mother’s hip.

a poet’s faith – thoughts from the rivelin valley

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