I hate that drum’s discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields,
To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace, and glittering arms;
And when Ambition’s voice commands,
To march, and fight, and fall, in foreign lands.
John Scott ( 1731–1783)
John Scott lived in Amwell which is my home turf. He was a wealthy Quaker who is now mainly remembered for his shell grotto, and for his pastoral verse – his Poetical Works were published in 1782. Samuel Johnson, intended to write about Scott’s life but died before he could do so.
Over the years Amwell has also been home to Izaak Walton (1593–1683) the noted angler and John Hoole, (1727–1803), the biographer of Scott. The remains of poet William Warner, (1558-1609), are interred in the churchyard. Also buried there is Harold Abrahams, the Olympian who was depicted in Chariots of Fire.
Sadly, it’s just a bit too far for my home crowd to put on their scarves, get in a coach and drive the many miles up to Benmore Botanic Garden to cheer on the Walking with Poets residency.
But they have sent an absolute fountain of poetry.
The Dream by Sylvie, Great Amwell
I had a dream that the trees had all gone,
no leaves in the river or wind full of song,
nowhere to shelter from rain or the sun,
or hide in the park when having fun,
the sky full of birds, no nests to be seen,
but it’s ok, don’t worry, it was just a dream.
Looking my best by Toby, Great Amwell
Bursting with new buds and blossom in springtime
or heavily adorned with summer fruit.
Perhaps in autumn as my leaves turn red and gold,
or winter naked, shimmering with a touch of frost.
It takes so much energy to always look my best.
Logs for the fire by Sylvie, Great Amwell
As the easterly wind whistled through the branches,
dead leaf confetti rained down
on the woodcutter with his axe held high,
oblivious to the long drawn out sigh,
of the tree.
Try Hugging by Octavia, Great Amwell
Have you hugged a tree today and listened to its sigh,
or hurried down the avenue and simply passed them by.
Did you look into the branches as the sun shone through the oak,
or played a game on your mobile phone while waiting for the bus.
Stop, look, you are missing so much.
A Birthday Tree by Gerald, Great Amwell
Magnolia with large creamy blossoms in spring
or camellia, pink, yellow, white,
sweet flowering cherry that sways in the wind,
all very beautiful, but which should I buy,
I just can’t decide however hard I try.
A lost brown bear by Georgie, Great Amwell
look in the tree,
the long neck of a giraffe but no head,
two scuffed shoes on the end of bruised legs,
lie on the grass, look into the tree,
see what you can find.