MW Poem
Rounded Rectangle:

The Macmillan Way Poem

By Peter Gibbs

THE MACMILLAN WAY

 

From Lincolnshire to Dorset

From Stump to Swannery

They walked the fine Macmillan Way

From Wash to English Sea

With book and Ordnance Survey

They found the waymarked routes

And stickers left on posts and stiles

Were there to guide their boots

They stayed in modest B&Bs

And country houses grand

Their gear in rucksacks on their backs

And each stop carefully planned

Through villages and hamlets

Down paths and bridleways

Their passage marked across the land

By ever-changing days

Felt Autumn fade to Winter chill

Saw Spring’s green shoots appear

Stopped at pubs on Summer days

To slake their thirst with beer

Heard larks ascending skywards

Watched hares and rabbits run

Saw timid deer take instant flight

And hawks backlit by sun

The seasons’ floral calendar

Gave scents to woodland scenes

Of bluebells and wild garlic

And buttercup-lined streams

From snowdrops in a hidden dell

To blossom’s multi-hue

From poppy red to campion pink

And petals flecked with dew

From tall bullrush and lilies

To moorland gorse and heather

Nature’s picture patchwork

As changing as the weather

They sheltered under hedgerows

As wind whipped overhead

Slumbered in the sunshine

With soft grass as their bed

 

Battled over new-ploughed fields

To reach a distant gate

Warmed themselves on evenings

Before a glowing grate

With waterproofs and gaiters

They braved the lashing rain

Trudging through a sea of mud

Another mile to gain

Met characters and kindnesses

With buns and cups of tea

Glimpsed unhurried rural life

That few are blessed to see

Entered country churches

With timeless peace within

Rushed across wide motorways

To leave their ceaseless din

They left the Wash on river banks

Where cattle sought the breeze

Retreating to the lower ground

When bulls rose from their knees

From Stamford spires to Rutland

And waters filled with trout

And onward cross the landscape

With scarce a soul about

Parkland known by Austen

A station caught in rhyme

Savouring these echoes

Of England’s gentler time

Northamptonshire to Warwickshire

And then the Cotswold heights

Gloucestershire to Wiltshire

Enjoying ramblers’ rights

In Somerset a side trail

To link with far Exmoor

But after reaching Dunster

They turned back for the shore

That beckoned them in Dorset

Through lanes to Abbotsbury

Where green fields merged with beaches -

At last the shining sea.

                                                                                       

            © 2017   Peter Gibbs

©  2017  The Macmillan Ways Association