Poem introduction

Custodian follows the route of a walk in the Lake District, and this is written for my nephew John Steel.

Custodian

Custodian

I charge you with the afterlife of that moment.
Return periodically across your life and see us
(you in your second decade, me in my fifth) still paused

at the gate between Snary Beck and Mockerkin How.
See again the white horse on the fell, the light
gilding its tail as and when the wind flickered.

We passed Snary Beck, Cogra Moss
was behind us, and I thought the animal's
poise as beautiful as anything on earth.

But it's our pause, the instinctive accord of it, and the light
which must also have been flickering in our hair,
I now find (shifting my gaze) more beautiful.


First published in Branch-lines: Edward Thomas and Contemporary Poetry edited by Guy Cuthbertson and Lucy Newlyn (Enitharmon, 2007), © Helen Farish 2007, used by permission of the author.

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1Look at These

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2Auto Reply

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3Feathered Coyote

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4Under the Bridge

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5Mount Mirtagh and Back

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6In the Church of St. Joseph Prague

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7Treasures

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8Surgery

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9The Accident

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10Mesoplodon Pacificus

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11Blindfold

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12The Old King's Garden

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13The Lighthouse of Nauset

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14Picnic Spots

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15Brathay

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16Slater Bridge

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17Custodian

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18Allington Cross

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19The Lorton Valley

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20To Whiteside

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21Odyssey

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22Plum Island

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23Kit

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24Rue des Lions

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25What Held Us There

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26Programme

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27Coffin Path Poem

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2824th June 1955

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29Newly Born Twins

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30Recording

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31China Dogs

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32July

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33The White Gate

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34Manicure

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35Airing

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36My Father's Dressing Gown

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37‘Grant Us Time to Read and Ponder'

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38Outside the Baker's

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39Resurrection

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40Dad's Barn

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41Posting

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42Appellation

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