Isabel Rogers, Poet Laureate of Hampshire, has written four poems inspired by her time at Chawton House Library.

This is the third of four poems and was composed out on the edge of our wilderness overlooking the estate. There are many benches dotted about the gardens and lawns which visitors are welcome to sit and take in the sights nature has to offer them. The bench which Isabel refers to in her poem is a converted trunk and indeed looks as though it ‘is retuning to the landscape’.

If you want to know more about Isabel Rogers, click here.

On the edge of things again:

a writer’s favourite place.

We leave the house behind

with its people and conversation.

Ahead are open fields and solitude

that teach us who we are.

The days of under-gardener legions

are gone. Now there is only one,

making a pyre of box blight.

So slow to grow, nothing to be done

save the burning. A snap of flame

shuts out traffic hum for a moment,

a shoulder against the twenty-first century.

Here we can fold in on ourselves.

Robin and chaffinch sing unseen in the wood,

snowdrop and primrose remain

even when they fade.

Being hidden can prepare a return.

Moss and ivy cloak beech trunks

and badgers dig setts under brambles.

Are rooks who call in the tall oaks

descendants of old families

with an unguessed pedigree?

Flakey as cardboard, this bench

is returning to the landscape

at its proper pace.

Nature takes her time.

The bench which inspired the poem