Go hand in hand together round the lakes

On mudded lawns with tunnelled worm-made mounds

Like tented troops encamped in battle line,

Defending guards perchance the foe surrounds

Hell-bent on occupation with their sign.[1]


Croquet the balls between the wirelessed hoops [2]

Laid out around the central target pole

For scheming tactics and enjoyment's play

With one contender under our control;

Munitions at the ready on display.


Place bricks above the other in the wall

To rebuild reputation almost lost

By hasty moves across the commons floor

Once more convinced the tyrant will accost, [3]

So get prepared for England's finer hour.


Trench seeds behind each other in their rows

The trees deployed battalions to the west

With roses bayoneted in defence; [4]

A garden gives a family of its best

And calms their hearts to deal with the suspense.


Sit down together on a stony bench [5]

Admire the firm-set jaw and pensive gaze

Expressing still the art of how to stand

In resolute defence of British ways

Acknowledged now with freedom's beckoning hand.


13 January 2007

After visiting Chartwell Garden, where Churchill must have contemplated war and all that goes with it.  


[1]  The swastika

[2]  Churchill enjoyed watching Clementine, the expert croquet-player, and Montgomery's scheming tactics on the croquet court

[3]  Churchill built the wall while in the political wilderness and after changing his part allegiance

[4]  Various allusions in the garden to warfare,

[5]  The over life-size statue of Winston and Clementine Churchill by Oscar Nemon on the south side of the lake at Chartwell