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He was a man of his time, born in India to British parents, into a culture which was to inspire his output: ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘Kim’ being two of his more famous works.
Every May in West Lindsey in northern Lincolnshire, there are nearly a hundred churches open to the public over two weekends.
Of course, you may say that churches are always open – and you would be right. What I mean is, this diverse array of architectural and cultural gems, have items such as exhibitions, old books, games and crafts on display and for sale, plus food and drink of course, the proceeds going to the upkeep of the churches. There will always be a warm welcome too.
Fiskerton’s name means enclosure or farm of fishermen, its name stemming from Anglo-Saxon times. The church is dedicated to St. Clement of Rome, a dedication I do not recall coming across too often, especially not in Lincolnshire.
Like many villages in this area of Lincolnshire, there are strong connections to the RAF, particularly in relation to World War 2.
In fact there were remembrance books and links with RAF squadrons in the Lady Chapel, a testimony to the fact that Lincolnshire during World War 2 became essentially ‘Bomber County’, due to the preponderance of bomber squadrons.
Elsewhere in the church there are some notable features, including remaining Norman architecture.
The font is especially interesting. Note the markings on the stone and the work on the ornate cover below:
Once again, the most overriding memory of our visit to this lovely church was the friendliness of everyone, volunteers who seemingly can never do too much for you.
Thank you people of Fiskerton.
When stepping off the ship, heat
something heavy and palpable, his duty drawn
out into an exile
stuffing the bank accounts
of far-off millionaires, stuffing
him and the natives from Melbourne
Such a relief to be on the train,
officers hankering in rigid
silence for the cool heights of Shimla,
Home Counties in miniature once bleeding
the big world dry, where spinsters
of Little England began to
watch their gingham fade
He favoured his mother’s
side, whose pale skin and eyes were
more fondly remembered
than appreciated, now more than
a world away,
spattered freckles on his face
where the sweat ran
free in that searing carriage;
sights of displaced women
wrapping up in their shawls, children
standing and sitting, staring
and sleeping, heading on to homes they’d
never seen (or ever see), leaving him
to watch the scorched earth slide
by like some weary sentence,
his mind hanging on
to the boney cattle half
hidden in mud, in the channels
of sometime rivers
gaping for monsoon
poem © copyright df barker 2012
Another old soldier who never speaks.
Sitting stiffly in braces and polished leather,
his medals left in bric-a-brac drawers
with sovereigns and half crowns,
concealing the nugget –
the tale worth telling from this safe distance.
A story of a corporal who carried
a limp subaltern from no man’s land
to safety through a Belgian quagmire.
Lieutenant Turnbull was a right bastard,
but no point in resentment or fear
when a bullet could tear through your head
at any time. Simply had to do it and get on.
His blank eyes, though still blue,
cannot disguise the bare brown soul,
like the pounded landscape, the kit bag
he carries around everywhere.
Until the lights go out.
© copyright df barker 2012
First published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.com