ST CATHERINE’S DOWN

Posted by Admin on Thursday, 25th May 2006, 00:00

The final stage, when tackled from the west,
is steep – the climb, with pharos, rocket-shaped
and penance-built, as goal, worth-while;
for there, a modern Moses, one surveys
a promised land – beholds, eight-hundred feet
below, its widespread features: Channel; chines;
a forest; farms with chequered pasture-lands
which merge in far-off hills – observes the glint
of weathercock refulgent in the sun,
or sees the coastal sandstone yield to chalk
that rising sheer adds drama to the view –
on tranquil days an ideal rendezvous.
But should a midnight mission take one there
when gale-force winds whip cloud-wrack over moon,
rebuff the climber, and with baleful sound
evoke the ghosts of long-forgotten monks;
transformed, the milieu loses its appeal –
the bracken hides the adder, and the night
conceals arcana steeped in time.

 

From The Hounds of Cridmore and Other Isle of Wight Poems, a book of Mr Hudson’s poetry with many illustrations by Heather Cobb.

 

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.
This work may not be reproduced without prior permission of the author.

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