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.

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