Village

FullSizeRender.jpg

Nestled in the deep pocket
Of the Cotswolds
Lies a village
That can only be known
Via old tracks, footpaths
And bridleways.

Some say it was lost,
Loosing its footing in time.
And some say it is found
Disregarding time’s
Bustling runaway.

But all who walk
The sleepy streets
Are touched by the woodsmoke air
And the cottage gardens’
Homely claim

On old walls
In which the roses scramble
And flowers beds billowing rich
Beside the flagstone path.
And time appears

To flow unending
From pastoral histories
And more simple years
Where one year spent
Yielded freely
In the spending of the next.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2016

Epoque

In the black and white photograph
the 19th century station bustles with
top hats and ladies in feathered felt,
and there isn’t a man without a
moustache or sideburns flanking.

Hot bellied locomotives simmer
in the sidings and polished carriages
queue in timely lines while walruses
inspect pocket watches and point at
the world with portly cigars.

There isn’t a thing out of time: every
article existing is touched by the age,
coloured by fashions of the mind;
the ladies fine frocks of puff
petticoats and pinafores, the hiss

and mist of escaping steam, the
brass tubing veining engines, the
great hall aloft on stanchions of cast
iron. Even the tea cup and train ticket
exude époque and the purity of

happenings coinciding to form all
that was in that moment then. And
when I look I can’t find a thing that
seems unreal. Is this a trick? Will my
decedents look upon the vistas of

our time and see rich nostalgia
colouring the skin of everything. Or
will they see the lack of meaning by
which we shape, steer and live our lives
and want no part of its empty shame?

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

A Wandering Poet

Today I fancied the life of a wandering bard and poet. And so with a spring in my step and the birds tweeting in the joyous air I selected my favourite knapsack, packed it with green cheese and a hunk or two of bread, some fine olives and a red apple, and slung it on a pole.

With provisions aplenty I went out the door, not forgetting my poets peaked cap, complete with a feather for inspiration. And of course I wore my best bard-ish jerkin, to keep me warm around the midriff and hopeful in mind. I went not empty handed: a book of plain pages clasped in my fingers, my quill expectant and quivering.

I strolled a good league before I met a (would be) patron in the village of Cowley. He leant nonchalant against a wall with fermentation thick about his person, a beverage loose in his hand. He smoked a Woodbine and had rummy eyes to see the world around. I thought him decent enough for a try of the rhythm in my mind. And so I said to him:

“Good sir, toss me a ducat and I shall sing a merry tune or write a rhyme in this book here, that once done will be yours for the keeping.”

And to this he said: “fuck off.”

“Good sir,” I said, “which ditch have you dug for those words that come tumbling, for I should have them for my book.”

And he said: “fuck off you twat.”

And I smiled and said:  “you sir, are a wit. I know it. You play with me as if I were a child. At first I thought those words were dirt, but you use them so well. They fall off your lip like watery cascade. They flow as nature’s voice in wind and breeze alike. Pray do tell me some more.”

And to this he said (you’ve guessed it): “Fuck off.”

And so with a salute and a smile I went on my merry way.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

Old Butcher

Unafraid of the white
Rind
Of sweet fat
Wound around the ham joint,
He cuts a handsome slice,
Layers it against a wedge of cheese
And closes the well buttered bun,
Offering it
Like it was a generous food,
As rich and fulfilling
As cream atop the milk
And the wheat’s
Golden milling
To finest workable powder.

He will die a good death
Before his mind
Thinks these precious gifts
Are otherwise
Or contra to
The land’s harvest
And man’s festival
In receiving its pleasure
And its goodness.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

So Slowly

IMG_2257

So slowly
Yet the years pass by
And old roads
Enveloped
By the seasons fruit
And fallen leaves
Brought down
To the carpeting ground
Are each year
Millimetres closer
To the countryside,
As new formed earth,
Like age rings
Of the tree,
Mark the cycle
By their regular encroachment.

It is thus
That our histories
Are buried.
And time is immeasurable
As it flows
Sometimes slowly
And other times
Like a swift tide,
Our ancestors
Sunk in the mud
Of generations,
As the millimetres
Have built
To the platform
On which
Life now resides

And finds us alive,
Upon the skin
Of now happening
But with deep roots
Drawing and sucking
On the layered sediments
Of history
And all those
Dead ideas.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015