Sir John Betjeman

Upper Lambourne

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Up the ash tree climbs the ivy,
Up the ivy climbs the sun,
With a twenty-thousand pattering,
Has a valley breeze begun,
Feathery ash, neglected elder,
Shift the shade and make it run -

Shift the shade toward the nettles,
And the nettles set it free,
To streak the stained Carrara headstone,
Where, in nineteen-twenty-three,
He who trained a hundred winners,
Paid the Final Entrance Fee.

Leathery limbs of Upper Lambourne,
Leathery skin from sun and wind,
Leathery breeches, spreading stables,
Shining saddles left behind -
To the down the string of horses
Moving out of sight and mind.

Feathery ash in leathery Lambourne
Waves above the sarsen stone,
And Edwardian plantations
So coniferously moan
As to make the swelling downland,
Far surrounding, seem their own.

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Sir John Betjeman