A sour wind howls down Duxon Hill,
weeds lengthen in the cobbled yard,
the lime trees on the lawn are gone,
stained-glass lies scattered on the path.
The dove-house timbers rot away,
rainwater pools the cattle-trough,
the governess-cart has shed its wheels,
toads squat behind a pile of turf.
The stable walls run green with mould,
a row of mildewed bridles hang
abandoned in the harness room,
the rat-runs in the barn fall in.
The parqueted drawing-room is bare
of Bechstein grand and rust-red rug,
the library grate is ash-filled, cold,
the Eagle range bakes no more bread.
Slate shelves hold neither cakes nor cream
and now, where eight of us once played,
no one spurs Jack, the rocking-horse,
across the silent nursery.
Yet from the windows, looking north,
still Cumberland’s grey mountains loom
still, to the west, a snail-trail sea,
still, to the east, the wild Helm wind
and to the south, on Duxon Hill
the lapwings call and circle still.