Poem ‘English Blue’

English Blue

Walk with me
into the grey breaking dawn

where that sticking ridge of blue –
an English blue

rolls on into soft distances
and strange dancing names

Stand with me
by those set whispering stones

in a steadfast line –
a sore English line

of rasping pipes and howling socks
mouthing our memory

like a warning to tomorrow
a land forlorn to all but itself

Then help me to bury him
not on some crying strand –

in firm English land
where hallows’ calls are grounded

our grief laid open
in the whitening bones of heroes

on this high scoured hill

*First published in ‘Poetry 24’ June 23 2011 and in the collection ‘Anonymous Lines’ available at amazon.co.uk

poem and image © copyright dfbarker 2012

This was initially inspired by the summer solstice at Stonehenge, the large gatherings there.
Then I thought of all the other generations, what they thought of the standing stones, what they meant to them.
This is also a tribute to pre-Norman England, its freedoms that were lost, so almost takes the form of an elegy to a fallen Old English hero.

39 thoughts on “Poem ‘English Blue’

  1. Hi David,

    This is the best one so far! 🙂 You paint this past in colours by paint and poetry, and it goes beyond landscape. The mysterious colours of Albion and Mercia 🙂 the grave and that shore… And I love it how you enclose all those people, generation after generation who have watched that Sun set in Mid Winter at Stonehenge, giviing the feeling of connection.

    Imagine how the light must have been and how more intense even in the days of King Harold, with a non polluted sky..


  2. Ina thank you! Harold is one of my heroes and I’m a big history fan. Yes, I suppose I live in what was (is?) part of Mercia. I am very grateful for your interest and lovely comments. I thank you Ina.


  3. Hi David,

    You have produced another treasure with this cleverly written poem. I just love everything you write; you have the capability of writing all the way across the board and that talent is enviable. Beautiful picture and when I saw it before I even looked at the poem it said “elegy” to me. Just fabulous.



  4. Christine, once more I am so grateful to you! Hope you are well and the weather’s not too bad where you are. Role on spring! Thank you.


  5. Hi,
    There certainly is a lot of history in the area, and I love how you have worked this into the poem, very nicely done.
    I love the beautiful colours that you have put into the painting as well.


  6. Really beautiful…thanlk you for posting it here : ) Took me right back to my visit there this past October. You’ve certainly captured the magic of this place : )


  7. Beautiful poem all in all! Sadly I have never had the experience to see anything like this but I really get a good mental image from your words. Thanks for sharing!


  8. Hey David, lovely piece. It’s got a definite magical, elegiac feel to it. I really like your repetition of ‘English…’ as it almost works as a refrain line for me. Love this line in particular – ‘grief laid open / in the whitening bones of heroes’ – evokes so much.


  9. Emma thank you. Yes, it’s not meant to be overtly ‘nationalistic’, just reflective on the fact that the past is always with us, all around, and old issues are not forgotten. Thank you, once again, for reading and commenting on this – I really do appreciate it.


  10. Beautifully haunting poem to honor the fallen ones, including those of very long ago. A hill that is high and scoured by time and the elements is a most fitting final earthly resting place for the bones and the memories.


  11. This is a great painting! Wow! And what kathryningrid properly describes as “elegiac verse” is just elegant and thought-provoking. This is really good poetry.


  12. David, the imagery in this is lush and beautiful, much like I imagine your English countryside to be. The commanding tone of “walk with me” is thoroughly engaging. I love this one.


  13. when I walked through England I heard so many whispers on the winds
    one can feel the ones who walked before ….
    there is such a calm ..yet intense energy within your words…
    I enjoyed this very much it took me back to a memory I love…

    I love the blues in the paintings, are they yours?
    ( I just arrived here in your blog, so i haven’t made it to look about)

    Thank you for sharing…you are very gifted….
    I will enjoy following your thoughts in words and colors…
    I like when they entwine together

    (and Thank you for following my thoughts)

    Take Care…
    You Matter….


  14. Hi maryrose – I am flattered by your very kind words, I am so grateful. Yes, they are my paintings, some painted in oil, some digital. I’ve just had a better look at your site… beautiful! Blue is such a ‘mood’ colour, isn’t it? Cool, sometimes dark, yet so evocative, calm and deep… Thank you again, I look forward to your posts.


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