Posted by: walterotter | August 8, 2017


this poem was inspired by reading
Mary S. Lovell’s The Sound of Wings


By 1932
Five years since Lindbergh flew
The Atlantic’s wild, restless, ocean
had claimed seven women
in record attempts
And Doc Kimball
at the New York weather bureau
was tense

“When weather is at all possible
we may tell a good man that he might make it.
To all women we say no, unless
conditions are extremely good
and that is very seldom”

But George Palmer Putnam
was not a man to take no for an answer
George had pursued Amelia
till she married him
Hired the Doc to feed him
North Atlantic weather reports
for his determined bride

Five years to the day
Lindbergh flew
May 26th, 1932
Balchen and Gorski readied
the Lockheed that afternoon
while Amelia slept
and back in New York George mused
on the latest issue of Liberty magazine
It carried a doom drenched warning
from Lady Heath
the prominent British flyer
Her words could not
have been more dire

“Why I believe women pilots
can’t fly the Atlantic,
it’s plain suicide to try”
she warbled over several column inches

Out in Newfoundland at Harbour Grace
Amelia awoke fresh faced
Looked into the mirror,
found not one trace of fear
or none that she would show
but she was scared
“Do you think I can make it?”
Amelia asked Balchen
and knowing the scale
of her task he said
“You bet. Okay. So long. Good luck”

And Amelia climbed
calm as you like
into the cockpit
Checked the switches,
fired the engine,
nodded her head
No words were wasted,
there was nothing left to be said

The Lockheed was ready
The sky set fair
And into a “lingering sunset”
Amelia took to the air

For hour upon hour George
paced up and down his office suite
while Amelia cruised in moonlight
somewhere at 12,000 feet
When her altimeter failed
a lightening storm shook the ship
After four hours
the exhaust manifold split
And the Lockheed left
a trail of star and flame
And a sudden beat
to Amelia’s heart came

This wasn’t the time for doubt
Amelia was determined to see
her solo flight out
Only things got worse
as though the Lockheed
battled a curse
Slush on the windshield
ice on the Lockheed’s wing
That sent the plane
into a fast descending spin
as it fell out of the frozen air
in the black of a black nowhere
Amelia crossed herself twice
warm winds melted the ice
with the heavens above
and the sea just below

There under the clouds she glided
and to her heart confided
She was scared stiff
Steadied herself with sniff
of smelling salts
A black fog surrounded her
as she all but lost her nerve
Amelia pulled the Lockheed up
below the ice cold air above the fog
While back in New York
George paced the room
like an abandoned dog

Morning brought the blazing sun
Amelia tucked into clouds
on the homeward run,
though danger was far from done
The reserve tank leaked a steady drip
and Amelia bit her lip
And the exhaust manifold ruptured
The rattle of raw metal rent the air

Somehow Amelia’s spirit saw her through
The first sight of landfall came into view
The rugged coast of Donegal
Maybe a railway line she hoped
would lead her to a town
perhaps a landing strip or a field
to put the Lockheed down

Danny the farm boy looked up
It was the first aeroplane
he had ever seen
Amelia circled the cows
above the lush and green

When the plane landed
Danny had never seen such a thing
The pilot climbed out
and scrambled off the wing

Amelia stood breathless there
Took off her flying helmet
and shook out her hair

Danny ran up
with his mouth open wide
“Where am I,” Amelia asked
“Gallagher’s pasture,”
Danny replied

Posted by: walterotter | August 6, 2017




My mother grew up with sailing ships
Two schooners owned by her grandfer Leigh
The Gizelle brought coals from Newcastle and
Transported barley and Ceylon tea

On the bend of the River Medina
Lay hordes of stories left to tell
How great grandma embalmed poor seaman
When they didn’t look at all too well

Great Grandma set up her pickling business
In her pub cellar on Newport Quay
Where she prepared pale looking sailors
For their very last trip out to sea

My father told me of the steam engines
And my Grand dad’s life long toil
The sweetest smell to them both was
A mix of sweat and tin can oil

And my Dad was in his element as any child
Would with coal dust upon his knees
And my Grand dad looked like Humphrey Bogart
With his oil can and greasy dungarees

My Grand dad cooked breakfast on the boiler
Of a little boat that was known as the Bee
He fried bacon and eggs on an upturned shovel
While Fred Raynerd made out to sea

Fred Raynerd stood quiet at the tiller
with one hand he’s rolling up a smoke
Guiding the Bee up the Medina River
A contented, unassuming bloke

The Bee supplied Nelson for Trafalgar
And took Fred to save troops at Dunkirk
The Bee was always off to Southampton
It kept Grandad and Fred in plenty of work

Now this little ship is reduced to a keel
Rotting down river at Wirrel Creek
Such a lonely part of this river
Home to a heron with a fish in its beak

And I hold onto these stories from Mum and Dad
I hold onto these stories with pride
Great Grandma still embalms poor sailors and
my Grandad comes home on the evening tide

*Newport Harbour Master Wayne Pritchett is my Great Aunt Nora’s nephew and a great historian of the muddy River Medina of my childhood. The river’s history runs through my veins.

Posted by: walterotter | August 4, 2017




They called it the Odyssey,
From Homer, apparently
It set me on
the road to Roundstone,
aboard a swaying bus
Harmonica dipped in blues
Reeled like a seabird
Over the Connemara shore
Squeeze box drenched in brine
lurched like a loosened sail
A bodhran beating time
to pounding wheels
on the winding road
My hands drummed
on my knees
When the tempest,
halted, abruptly
I kept on clapping.
Then, silence, as though
The wind had dropped.
A lone gut strung guitar
Played Little Bird
For a girl from Galway.
Each note went deep
Deep as a kiss
On the lips from
A Connemara girl
When the sky in the west
Burns like the embers
Of a fisherman’s fire.
My spine tingled,
my thoughts,
slipped away
on the next plane
A pint of Guinness
poured slow into a glass
on the Crane Bar
And I savoured
the moment to
the very last dribble.

After a performance by Tim Edey gut strung guitar and squeeze box, Lucy Randall, bodhran, percussion
and Brendan Powers, harmonica at the Gosport and Fareham Folk Festival, Fernham Hall, Easter, 2007

Posted by: walterotter | August 1, 2017





Benito Mussolino’s ghost
Whines against a desert wind
He licks his lips on a cracked salt bed
Surveys a sculpted sea of sand
Waterless, so deep and so wide
Not even a camel dare cross it
Yet by sextant sun and sparkling star
The Long Range Desert Group
Pay Benito a visit
Murzuq 1941
The day Benito’s master plan
Came undone
Aeroplanes in bits
Tangled like spaghetti
The fuel dump fired
The hangar roof
Hanging off
Job done
El Fintissimo
Mission accomplished
The LRDG disappeared
South to Chad and
Introduced themselves
To the Free French forces
If tourists at the Cairo Hilton
Don’t venture this far west
There are men of mettle that will
65 years on
Kit and companions
Sat nav’ied and savvy
Make the journey once more
In the footsteps of the fallen
And those who made it back
Land rovers riding dunes
as of great sailing ships
Rising, falling upon the crest
Of each wave
Into a desert tangled between
Ancient and modern time
A Roman Emperor’s fort crumbled,
a burnt out Chevrolet truck
The frame of a wingless plane
Ancient cave dwellings daubed
In timeless elegant line
When the desert was pasture
Of antelope and lakes
Where swimmers swam
And were nourished
by fish and molluscs
Where history has no discovery channel
Where locals listen to their hearts
Beating in ancient rhyme
While the Cairo Hilton remains
Trapped in western standard time
There in the desert,
Night falls, the sun glows
Silence, still eternal.

For Kit Constable Maxwell and the Murzuq 06 Expedition

After writing this I returned to an Arthur Koestler’s essay Farewell to Gaughan, it centres on the tourism of history and the conformity of worldwide corporation into the same old, same old everywhere you go, neglecting and forgetting local customs, food and lifestyles. Koestler would write:
“Never a native dish. Never a tropical fruit. And all the same, day by day in every way, the muddy floods of musak pour down on you, piped into the lift, the lobby, loo, bar, restaurant, swimming pool, coral beach – a tonal darrhoea, unrelenting, inescapable. There are worldwide crusades for the preservation of wildlife and countryside; it is time somebody started a movement for the preservation of silence.” – Arthur Koestler, The Heel of Achilles.

a poem by Walter Otter aka Mike Plumbley written after a talk by Kit Constable Maxwell

Posted by: walterotter | August 1, 2017



A desert expedition to honour the memory of the Long Range Desert Group’s adventurous 1941 raid.

A tall young lady is weaving between people who are all talking excitedly, the scene resembles a Moroccan marketplace, she is carrying a beer. She thinks that Kit Constable Maxwell would appreciate a drink. For the previous hour and ten minutes Kit had spoken and introduced a talk with music and slides about traversing the waterless sea of sand, silence and mystery of the Libyan Sahara.

Such a talk from the former Sots guardsman, photographer and traveller amongst the desert peoples of the world is filled with wonder. He has a gentle Buddha like calm set off by his enthusiasm and sense of humour. The journey has all the hallmarks of a young Indiana Jones with his infectious passion for life.

It was this same infectious passion that the tall blonde girl discovered as she studied for her A-Levels to go to University. Many years before Kit had conversed with her about the stars and philosophy. That conversation became the guiding light to Miss Laura’s university education. She hands Kit a beer and he beams that same smile that held his audience tonight.

We are in the Victory Services club off Marble Arch. The lecture hall with adjoining bar is packed. Young and old are here, from all walks of life including military men in civilian clothes and a group of Chelsea pensioners in their vivid red uniforms.

Everyone is buzzing, they have clapped and roared their approval at the talk and everyone is wanting to speak with Kit and his companions who hlped him realise a dream.

As he explained Pat Clayton, a former commander of the Scots Guards had been instrumental in the Murzuq raid of 1941 when the daring long range Desert Group snuck across the waterless Libyan Saraha desert from Egypt to pay the Italians a visit.

Benito Mussolini had deployed 80,000 troops in Libya with the express intention of destroying the British hold on Egypt. The Italians had a base at Murzuq fort, way down from Tobruk stocked with fuel and planes. The newly formed SAS were guided across this desert on many raids by the Long Range Desert Group who might well have coined the phrase ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.’

They took their Chevrolet trucks across the most unhopsitable landscape in the world and the particular raid twelve hundred miles across a desert where even camels did not venture because there was not enough water stunned the Italians. They assumed that with the desert at their backs they were safe.

Kit had a life long dream about honouring the raid on Murzuq Fort. With him went similar adventurers of mettle. Raymond Bird, a former RAF navigator, Simon Montford who made a film about the adventure, Richard Noble, holder of the land speed record, Crispin Clay and Nick Robinson. Hassam ‘their policeman’ and Mamdu their guide also came along.

The journey through Kit’s multi media presentation of spoken word and slides with music was stunning. Kit’s photography was awesome and his history once again inspired Miss Laura to say she wants to travel. Not some trendy beach travel, but travel. Travel like Kit Constable Maxwell.

It was a great history lesson tonight. Not one delivered by pale teachers raised in the confines of universities and sedate libraries but by real men living for real in the landscape of our lives. The Libyan Saraha was once a flourishing oasis of pasture and wildlife. Now thousands of years later it was a great sweep of sand littered with fragments of that earlier time all over its landscape.

Kit had photographs of the cave paintings of our ancestors which were breath taking and kicked what passes for Brit and trendy art into a cocked hat. The painting called the Cave of Simmers made me gasp. Those ancient people hunting, swimming, living in another time.

Mixing the pictures of the Long Range Desert Group with the journey in 2006 brought home the connection with the spirit of why Kit and his fellow travellers made the journey.

I have nothing but admiration for their journey and what they gave their audience tonight because they honoured the heroic efforts of dedicated soldiers who faced incalculable hardship and sent tingles down the spines of everyone listening tonight.

It was like a re-enactment of the English Patient over a desert littered with ancient buildings, artefacts and a way of life at one with nature instead of at one with a Sainsbury’s cloth bag as a fashion accessory.

Miss Laura was till smiling as we made our way home, still talking Kit’s lovely wife Lyn’s exhibition at Winchester Cathedral some years ago. Lyn was here tonight, more nervous than Kit she said.

“I still remember Lyn’s angels,” Miss Laura aid, “and I’ve made my mind up, I want to travel.”

The greatest gift in this na na world is to inspire and Kit and Lyn Constable Maxwell have that for me and my daughter in spades.

Bless their hearts.

Posted by: walterotter | August 1, 2017




I venture into Agammenom’s tomb
Many moons after Orestes
Not a breath of air
Bats huddle in a corner
The sun casts no shadow
Beyond the door

The smell of slaughter
dark laughter curdles rancid air
I carry the scent of
night lemon and
the tethered donkey
amongst the olives

Midnight conversation
drifts from the cafe
a rugged hand reaches out
welcome to our world
sit awhile,
drink tarred barrelled retsina
come dream with me under the stars

I came down from the mountains
In the back of an old beaten truck
Roaring over railway crossings
Making south
Laughter in Homerian tonques
‘McKinnis’ Jump in
I think they said

Breakfast is at midday
eggs and olives
fresh baked bread
a little retsina
emulsified in the barrel
to cut the taste buds
and a scrawny cat
to feed under the
lattice palmed tavern

The sweet smell of grass
on a Greek hillside
to free up the nostrils
from the palid stale air
Agammenom gone,
Clytemnestra too
history ransacked
all is empty
Orestes free.

A country full of ruins
and trains filled
with chicken and goats
Women carry wrinkled smiles
Menfolk worn as their weathered suits
the soul of this land
offered as bread and fruit
the old man insists

History all around us
above, beyond and below
the train rattling
over the rusting old bridge
of the Corinth Canal
hewn by whip and engineers
bonding all
to the mystery of the
crystal blue
Meditterean sea.

– Mycenae, Southern Greece, May 1980 by Walter Otter


Posted by: walterotter | August 1, 2017



In what would be an early interview for our book Isle of Wight Rock by Vic King, Pete Turner and myself Mike Plumbley aka Walter Otter; Vic and I travelled to Muswell Hill to interview Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Dooh Dah Band.


Incidentally the classic design of Isle of Wight Rock was by my friend Pete Gilbert who is a wonderful artist of great repute (see above). Pete designed templates for me to follow and I just slipped the images and type into them and it work superbly.

Within a short time at Vivian’s flat we got chatting about his experiences at art college where he fell in love with “the thump of the press impounding onto the type in a platen of a printing press.” It was a fabulous interview and it is recounted in the book. Sadly in less than a year Vivian Stanshall had fallen asleep at the flat whilst smoking a cigarette and was killed the fire. He had volunteered to write a piece for the book for us.

By then in the early 1990s the hot metal print I had grown up with was long gone. The typecases, the drawers of type both wooden and lead and the great chaises of posters and billboards had faded with the era of modern times. The huge flat bed poster presses and the steady clunk of the Heidelberg press notwithstanding too. Even the Thompson press in my student days.

Attending Southampton Print College from the Isle of Wight left its mark too as did my spell in the Echo at Southampton on the edge of the old ways that were modernised and gone in a few short years.

The lure of the typeface has never left me. I am not a kindle person, I am more at home with a book in my hand turning pages rather than scrolling through them. That connection with the printed word on paper is deeply embedded in my psyche.

As my college days were about the assembly and production of print I never really learnt the history of typography just had a cursory knowledge of it. I read a little of it in later years and became fascinated by the work of Jan Tschichold who was a ground breaking typographer and designer from Switzerland I think.

Tschichold’s almost unique use of space and type on a page, his balance of light and dark into combinations of typefaces seemed to write the book on magazine and poster design of the 1960s and 70s. I once sought out of Southampton Library a copy of his book on Typography. It took a while for them to find it. It was in a basement somewhere gathering dust on a shelf.

Tschichold designed the classic covers for Penguin books using the Gill typeface. Another example of his classic style was the Guardian newspaper’s masthead. “The” was set in Tschichold’s Sabon (Garamond) typeface and starkly contrasted with the Franklin Gothic extra bold of “Guardian.”

I see now after years of using the Gill typeface on their website the BBC have commissioned their typographers to create a new BBC corporate typeface which given the technology makes a lot of sense and will save them money in the end. They are going to call it Reith as a kind of nod to the man who built the BBC to what it became today.

Me I think I would have called it Evans, or Vine or Winkleman perchance . . .


Posted by: walterotter | July 31, 2017



I continue to explore the musical depths of the lap steel like a child fascinated by a rock pool. I often start off my practice sessions messing around with Hawaiin tunes before playing some bluegrass for a change. What makes this possible is that both the lap steel and a traditional bluegrass instrument like the banjo are tuned more or less the same or can be.

In Hawaiin music they call the open G tuning the ‘taropatch’ tuning. Tuning a baritone ukulele to taropatch gives you basically the basic banjo tuning. Armed with this I now realise I will when I go south get my baritone ukulele out of the lock up and play some bluegrass tunes on it.

Yesterday I dipped into Blackberry Blossom. I have always loved Michelle Shock’s vocal version of this with Norman Blake playing guitar. The instrumental version on the ukulele is beautiful, then some of the most simplest music is. The lap steel version of Blackberry Blossom takes it to another level.

There is a delicious one bar lick that moves from C to G and ends on an F# the seventh note of the G scale through a series of hammer on strings and pulled strings. In the final bar this is repeated and a final open G is added to resolve the tune. At that point I just slide the bar up to the 12th fret and gently grace the thumb pick across the strings with a closing chord of G.

I have Moana Chimes down to a t when I change to Hawaiin music. In Stacy Philips brilliant book The Art of Hawaiin music. I love what he says about MK Moke the lap steel player:

“The elusive  MK Moke calls his “Hue Hue” version “Moana Chimes”. He has a flair for languorous, sluggish slides and vibrato. Of all the players I have heard, I feel his simple, yet subtle approach to the steel is truest to the pre-contact sound of the Hawaiin oles. (Of course, I could be full of one finger pol.)

Inspired by that paragraph I have given the lap steel version a kind of loping stagger akin to a drunk dragging his feet and both the ukulele version and the lap steel version fit perfectly together though they explore different ways of playing the same tune.

I only wish I had bought a lap steel earlier maybe its been waiting for me all this time . . .

Posted by: walterotter | July 30, 2017



Mike Campbell’s book Amelia Earhart – The Truth At Last inspired me to look at some of his sources, in particular he had noted Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton, United States Navy (Retired) book I Was There- Pearl Harbour and Midway- Breaking The Secrets. Mike Campbell had written of the work that it has a detailed look into cipher and code breaking of the Japanese before Pearl Harbour.

I wanted to see how extensive that intelligence gathering was at the time of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance. It is clear from Layton’s book that intelligence gathering had been gaining ground from the 20s onwards. One of the pioneers was Laurence Safford, Captain Laurence Safford who wrote Amelia Earhart’s Flight Into Yesterday: The Facts Without The Fiction published in 1961. Safford was a firm believer in the crash and sink theory of the fliers.

What is interesting from Layton’s book I Was There, are his visits to Japan to learn Japanese and make contact with Japanese naval attaches as a background to his code breaking activities.

“The palm fringed atolls of the western Marshall Islands were the nearest territory to our Pearl Harbour base and therefore the most immediate potential danger to our security. Ever since my time in Tokyo I had suspected that they were being fortified as military bases.

One of the biggest islands, Jaluit was just over two thousand miles southwest of Hawaii and its proximity as a possible enemy base made it a priority in any intelligence mission to find out about what Japan might be doing in the mandates.

The islands of the Japanese mandate sprawling across the central Pacific offered ideal jumping off points from which their powerful surface and submarine fleet could sally forth to sever our communication lines to the Philippine’s or even to raid Hawaii. page 52 I Was There ibid.

Piecing together elements of Layton’s work a picture emerges of the lack of information the United States had about Japanese activities in the mandates in the 1930s which they had ‘inherited’ from the League of Nations following the defeat of Germany in the first world war. In response to a League of Nations report into conduct of the Japanese in Manchuria, Japan withdrew from its membership while retaining the mandates ceded to them.

By 1937 Japanese aggression in China was gathering pace. It may be plausible as some have suggested that Amelia Earhart’s round the world flight which radically changed course after her crashing the plane in Hawaii was used as the United States would use information from the Pan Am China Clippers to gather information of the Japanese mandates.  Frederick Noonan was a Pan Am navigator with extensive experience about the clippers plying across the Pacific. There is no proof though only reports of off hand conversations Earhart had with engineers and relations at the time of the flight.

Clearly though Earhart’s plane the Electra was financed through the American government through money ceded through corporations and individuals. And the loss of Earhart and Noonan brought about a search for Elektra costing in the order of 4 million dollars. That is a massive sum in the 1930s.

The most telling information in Layton’s book is his posting to Hawaii in 1940 a year before Pearl Harbour. Since 1936 when a Tommy Dyer became the chief cryptanalyst and set up a centre on Hawaii.  “This was one of the navy’s pre-war centres that specialised in the interception, cryptanalysis and translation of Japanese radio communications.” page 52 I Was There by Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton, United States Navy (Retired)

In charge of Tommy Dyer was Lieutenant Commander Thomas B Birtley and they were joined by Lieutenant Ranson Fullinwider. Birtley and Fullinwider were both Japanese language officers of what became  14 Naval District Communications Intelligence Unit.

When Layton arrived in Hawaii during 1940 he volunteered to help them out as they were overworked. He was given some code to decipher which proved to be the first knowledge the American’s had of Japanese activity in the mandates.

“My analysis showed the prescence of the ‘P’ sound in in-Japanese positions in what appeared to be proper names. They appeared to fit with names such as ‘PA’rao (Paulau) and Pona ‘PE’ which were islands in the Carolines and the Marshalls.

As I recovered each new value, specific units were addressed, such as the Saipan defence force, Ponape garrison force, Kwajalein submarine base an Palau landscape base.” page 53 I Was There, ibid

Edwin T Layton explained the code to Admiral James O Richardson who was sceptical at first then convinced. “Now we know,” Richardson said “that the Japs were secretly violating their mandate for administering those islands. We have been trying to find out what’s going on for twenty years and here you have done it in twenty days. – from page 53 I Was There, ibid

If that statement recognises the extent of the United States knowledge of Japanese intentions in the mandates then that also may explain why they wanted Amelia Earhart to change her direction in flight as it gave the at the time isolationist United States still wary of war reason to build an airfield at Howland Island for Amelia Earhart to land upon. It would also give the United States a base for launching bombers if required in a war with Japan.

Mike Campbell drawing upon Fred Goerner’s In Search of Amelia Earhart notes that Japan had 13 high frequency direction finder stations in the mandated islands in 1937 including a station on Jaluit. page 173 Fred Goerner quoted by Mike Campbell Amelia Earhart The Truth At Last.

That would seem to lend a basis for the notion that the Japanese were able to track Amelia from her radio messages or perhaps not as she kept them deliberately short in her communications which it has been argued that direction finders could not get a bearing on her.

An extraordinary film made in 1943 presents the idea of a Government inspired landing in Japanese held territory. Flight for Freedom 1943 film starred Rosalind Russell as an Amelia Earhart character Toni Carter and Fred MacMurray as a Frederick Noonan character. The fliers purposely crash in Japanese held territory at the behest of the American government. See page 127 Mike Campbell ibid.

In 1937 Edwin Layton had been in Tokyo at the time of Earhart’s disappearance and the only reference to Amelia Earhart is this brief paragraph:

“We had worked closely with Yamamato’s office during the July search for Amelia Earhart, a matter in which they co-operated politely if half heartedly.” page 62 I Was There ibid speaking of his time in Tokyo where he knew Vice Admiral Isoroka Yamamoto the Japanese Naval Vice Minister.

What is curious about Amelia Earhart’s flight is her abandonment of the morse telegraph keys which would allow her to send morse at which she wasn’t proficient but Noonan could have easily have sent and received morse:

Alan Vagg a radio operator at Bulolo forty miles south west of Lae was asked by his head office in Sydney to make contact with the fliers. Vagg said he had radio telegraph communication with Frederick Noonan during Electra’s flight from Darwin to Lae.

“I was impressed by the quality of Noonan’s morse. Slow but very clear and easy to read.” Alan Vagg see page 46 Mike Campbell ibid

Until the complete Amelia Earhart classified files are released which may be never we can only surmise and piece together elements from the research of Goerner,  Thomas and Campbell to arrive at the truth.

For now we know that the appalling weather conditions, poor radio communications played their part and it seems to suggest that Amelia Earhart and Frederick Noonan were abandoned to their fate on the Marshall Islands at a time when Japanese and United States relations had reached a crucial point.

Posted by: walterotter | July 28, 2017

Sleepy Selborne


How the wary jay in the morning wood
Taunts the Sunday bells below
All rung to set the parson’s mind at ease
There in a leafy vale an ancient hill risen
Overhung by ivied trees
In sleepy, sleepy Selborne

Where once a kindly reverend grew
Carrot and melon and marrow and
In rich earth a tulip tree
Blossomed in occasional flower
Once in a while, once in a while
In sleepy, sleepy Selborne

And gravestones about the churchyard yew
Filled by lost souls we never knew and
The mummers meadow of daisies and morning dew
Where I dreamt and dreamed these dreams,
These tremulous dreams with you
In sleepy, sleepy Selborne

And how we picnicked on Midnight melon
After a zigzag candle climb unto our sacred hill
where the damp wood haunts the poet still
When only birds sang to break our dawn and
Bees busy about their honey, busy making honey
In sleepy, sleepy Selborne

Something stirs the blood that belongs to some other time.
Of breakfast tea and parsleyed egg and star lit nights.
Star lit nights of damson wine
To such sweet feelings I do confess when
your beating heart lay there with mine,
lay there with mine
In sleepy, sleepy Selborne

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