Poem: An ode to a great hall

Down dappled drive where hooves did clatter today’s thoroughbreds roar and natter.

Gawthorpe Hall.
Photo Reece Farnhill
Gawthorpe Hall. Photo Reece Farnhill

Horsepower encased

beneath gleaming bonnets

Texts, and tweets today’s

billet doux and sonnets,

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to Turf Moor’s training ground trot the new elite,

Status not from titles but golden feet.

From woodland carpark

Gawthorpe gawpers disembark, then slump amidst the hollyhocks, sip cappuccinos

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in the stable blocks, play tig

between yew tree hedges,

place lemonade on limestone ledges. Belch, then squelch.

To the ponds, view detritus not trout, amongst the fronds.

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Through the hall, the diaspora pass the former preserve of the upper class.

Bored school kids take a selfie,

Beneath oil portraits of the wealthy. By the spotless kitchens, empty grate, plastic fowl,

adorn pewter plates.

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Upstairs cabinets of juvenilia,

dolls, cradles, tiny clogs,

Otherworldly yet familiar.

On creaking oak boards sits a four-poster bed, holding nightmares and dreams of Gawthorpe’s long dead.

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And as the last visitors meander slowly away, the great door key is turned to end the day.

Leaving the hall to the hounds,

to the maid,

And to Lady Kay.

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Nick Verity

Bridge Street, Padiham