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York in Poetry: Ampleforth

Posted on 25 November 2012 | Audio, Poem

They are playing rugby in the fields.
Their cries turn our heads
and rise into the orchard trees.
We pass them on the paths, their fresh faces hardly see yet more strangers come to stare at the setting and the perfect stone.

Girls talk in the courtyard,
and in the organ loft
a boy tackles Bach for St. Laurence and his tutor.
The railed gallery, blond wood and skylight call ‘Reach up! Reach up!’
We do, and sway.

There are people down below.

In Chapel, chairs are marked
(one line for each year) each with a name.
Beyond here, they disappear, unaccountably, get broken, are quietly put away.

For now they’re kept close, the fair thousand, their parents’ hope and apple store.
For now they can outpace the stars
as they play rugby in the fields.

- Tanya Nightingale