Old Yew, which graspest at the stones That name the under-lying dead, Thy fibres net the dreamless head, Thy roots are wrapt about the bones. The seasons bring the flower again, And bring the firstling to the flock; And in the dusk of thee, the clock Beats out the little lives of men. (‘In Memoriam A.H.H’. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson)
The grey roots circle thee, who never knew At any hour within thy travels lone A human shape but mine. Thou com’st to view, Wild, unafraid, what stands beside thy stone And gazes on thee in thy wilderness Of fifty miles. What thinkst thou of me, For I am of a race thou could’st not guess Would murder all thy hapless innocency? (‘The Adder of Quinag’ – Olive Fraser)
“He seemed almost to like animals. He stroked their muzzles sometimes. He was a kind man. And he gave them no promises: when the trap’s teeth snapped shut, their own light feet had triggered the spring.”
Strung along the A22 like grave markings for a vanished transport system, the Bow Bells milestones punctuate the old coaching route between Eastbourne and London. This particular example is from the village of Nutley in the Ashdown Forest.