Sunday, 9 October 2016

That July

Dear Reader,
                                                                               Judge Jeffreys  1645-1689

Archaeologists have apparently discovered that about 7,000 years ago, an Alsatian dog went on a 250 -mile journey from York to Stonehenge.  This piece of information came from a tooth found, dating back 2,000 years before Stonehenge itself was built.  It was a bit of a surprise to the team from the University of Buckingham, because they didn't know that Mesolithic people travelled such long distances.  Anyway, this tale brought to mind a story about my own Alsatian dog, Kaiser.  Years ago I lived in an old manor house in the New Forest, near Beaulieu.  It was large, had been built in the 17th century, and had wings added at a later date.  And it was haunted.  There was a panelled spare room which Kaiser hated going into, if he would at all.  He barked and growled and put his hackles up, and preferred to sit on the landing outside.  It has been said that Judge Jeffreys, "the Hanging Judge", stayed in the house when he was on his way in l685 to preside over the autumn Assizes in the West Country.  This was to conduct the trials of captured rebels after the Monmouth Rebellion.  Judge Jeffreys was notorious for his brutal and harsh sentencing, and was a feared and hated magistrate.   Perhaps Kaiser sensed something of the judge and his malevolence, as a man who may have slept in that room.


That July

we planned to walk
along the river bank,
play bridge,
stay overnight in
a superior hotel,
eat in a white
linen-clothed dining room,
exchange gossip, news,
make jokes.

But someone-other
planned other-wise.
No river walks, or talks,
or jokes.
A fatal illness struck,
marked "no reprieve",
with no allowance
for two days under a sunny sky,
our special summer treat,

that July. 


With best wishes, Patricia


Anonymous said...

Patricia this is so interesting. YOU have had such an interesting life! You should write a book. And dog's are amazingly sensitive so I am quite sure something was there.

Another stunning poem, but how tragic. I hope not true. Xx

Jessica said...

Interesting about Judge Jeffries- I wonder what connection he had with the house?
Sad and poignant poem; missing and loosing friends is hard and it seems you never forget your cherished and long gone friends, Mum.