Green fields and blue skies on the South Downs Way

Sunshine and Showers

29th May 2015

Although the week has been short, thanks to the Bank holiday it’s been a busy one. Monday I was looking at surface improvements and future improvements to the road crossing in Jevington Village. This lovely Sussex village is often missed by walkers taking the coastal path along the Seven Sisters and over Beachy Head, rather than the in land bridleway route between Alfriston and Eastbourne. However I’d highly recommend this slightly quieter but equally stunning route.

This week I have also finished the last of the year end reporting, where I summarise all that we have achieved since April 2014. Incredibly we have completed 245 maintenance tasks and our volunteers put in over 400 days of volunteer work maintaining the trail. So thank you volunteers!

Also of note this week was the start of an epic litter pick by a pair of fundraisers who are walking the whole of the SDW whist litter picking. Louisa and her friend have borrowed litter pickers and bin bag hoops from us to help them along the way. They are raising funds to support their Raleigh International expedition' environmental & community  projects in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. You can support Louisa via her Just Giving page here  . Good luck to Louisa, it is an inspired way to raise money and improve the SDW at the same time.

Our resident poet Lizzie Ballagher has also been out on the trail and this week offers us this poem. If you want to read more of Lizzie’ poetry you can visit her blog here at lizzieballagherpoetry.wordpress.com.

Buzzard in the Sun

Behind trailing clouds, a smoking sun sulks

And stokes its flaming rage for when the buzzard rises

Icarus-like in spirals over the downs’ long spine,

Inscribing with high quills (feather by wingtip by talon)

Ribs, rings, closer, ever nearer to the heat.

 

Defeated by millennial winds, brow-beaten

By that solar stare, that one-eyed glare, scarps and barrows

Offer scant defence: even for the huntsmen

In their gathering grounds, their burial mounds; even for those

With wide shoulders shoring up headstones and doorstones

 

Against the ravages of time (or so they thought),

Their bones picked clean by beasts & birds,

By endless arrows of rain & the grinding work of chalk & sand.

For barrows render no more shelter than narrow burrows

And all—all—are turned to dust below the buzzard’s wings.

 

Leisurely lizard eyes comb clover, probing

Daisies, trefoil & grass-blades on the ridge.

The buzzard wheels, shrieking, holds its gimlet gaze

On goldfinches, crazed moles on their mad hills,

Or, along the river-brink, dazed voles that shrink & shiver.

 

Sun strikes its covert blows from out the clouds.

Still the buzzard quarters the ground, shears away, scythes across,

Severs the skies, plummets & plucks

A sparrow from a leaf-bud on the barrow.

Then out of the sun’s winking eye is gone in a wingbeat.

 

© Lizzie Ballagher

 

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