I walk in sunlit Christ Church meadows,
the skies not Lincolnshire –
the grazing cattle and unfamiliar deer –
a winter afternoon not seen before.

Strange voices seem to chill the air,
The Western Wynde unwinding
in my ear: the river’s rhythm,
polyphony of crows.

I walk in sunlit Christ Church meadows,
the choirmaster far from home,
where ghosts listen to country stories,
children haunt the buttercross.

Now music sings to fetch the past:
a girl dancing in the May dawns,
a boy snowballing the Lincolnshire trees.
The choirmaster knows his part.

So choristers and college clerkes
rehearse in music the fields
and lanes he didn’t want to leave,
far parish of the aching heart.

*John Taverner was born in Tattershall, Lincolnshire. He was choirmaster at Tattershall Collegiate Church and at Cardinal – subsequently Christ Church – College, Oxford.

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