Friday 18 January 2019


For a week or so the line: cold water, cold morning, has been knocking around my head. A friend, Alison Wilson, sent me some photographs of The Leechwell, in Totnes and suggested there could be a poem in it. 
All last week all I had was that line. The rest evolved from reading that from the 1500's it was claimed that the well could cure leprosy. At that time if you contracted leprosy you were said to have died, your partner was officially a widow and could remarry. You were consigned to a leper house or lazar. 
Once I had established the scene the poem fell into place over the usual multiple rewrites.

At The Leechwell

Did we believe less?
Was your faith the greater?
You, who turn away,
make the sign of the cross
at the sound of the bell
as we walk to the well,
burdened as we are
by the double negative
of disease and The Fall.
Cold water,
cold morning.
No cure,
no change,
no blessing from above.
So we turn back towards the lazar house,
moving slowly through the spaces
that used to be our lives.
I wondered how the disease would affect your faith. Would it cause you to doubt? Also the fact that your life had been taken from you, or you have been removed from your life.
Strange how some poems present you with a perspective, a life experience that seems to come from somewhere else.
Thank you Alison.

Another friend, Rex, sent me a link to this song. It's Neil Young and REM playing Ambulance Blues. Fantastic.

Thanks Rex.
Until next time.

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