John Dunn

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Wednesday, 16 Feb 2022

The ruined church on Dr John Dunn. A ruined church, a wartime atrocity and loss - these things prompted me to pull these words together twelve years ago. I cycled to the ruined church of Knaptoft. I was alone and the peace was heavy upon me as I pondered the inevitable loss that we all must face: loss in its many guises.


I turned back and there it was,
The well bucket, dragged across the pit of my stomach.
Please, I said, please don’t tauten the rope.
You’re leaving me.
Come back, come back.

Found, a short distance down a once frequented lane,
To nowhere now, but lives and tears then,
The stones where once men grovelled for life,
Facing steel and prayed for life
Facing the fiercer edge of eternity.

Is this the well bucket, lowered again
That I might connect with the searcher,
The delver, the hunter,
The diviner, the fisher?
The rope tautens

Touching the stones here
Is touching the wall of the well,
The dark, dank, dripping well.
Above the little circle of light, far away.
It is too slippery a climb,
To even contemplate a life in the light.

I’m resigned to that dot,
That imperceptible dot
That those frightened and hunted
And retreating men saw too,
As the rope tautened.

You’re leaving me.
Come back, come back.

© John Dunn.

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