Ah God! to see the branches stir

Rupert Brooke

Spent most of yesterday out in the woods filming, pleasantly peaceful with the sun occasionally shafting through, or the rustle of light rain on the canopy above making the space feel indoor, like a huge, spreading cathedral. We were in the valley we visited last week, where sarsen boulders excavated 90 years ago were abandoned in their trenches by a bankrupt business. It has a sense of loss about it, vaguely redolent of an overgrown battlefield.

I just bought this book of poems in my local Oxfam bookshop (to those of you who think these second-hand charity shops are unfairly knocking out traditional private shops, I say if they ever do that, it’s simply through running good shops). It has a woman’s name inscribed in 1947, and she’s gently underlined The Great Lover in the contents list (a Pacific poem). I’ll take it with me on the train tomorrow, when I cross the English Channel into France to visit the excavation at Fromelles, a 1916 war grave on the site of Australia’s greatest war tragedy.

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