In the years following the death of my friend and colleague Les Arnold in 1992 I wrote a poem in 31 parts which is based in part upon the Cotswold landscape looking towards the chalk of Salisbury Plain and that centres upon Arnolds Wood - a small area of woodland that I and his family and colleagues planted in his memory.

Section from Arnolds Wood


As we walked here
on the castle mound,
you told me you felt
you were walking
into a black tunnel.

now the strange, delicate
pink and white cyclamen
is out by the ivied stump
where I walk between classes
to rest my mind.

It is a quiet time
when light shining on the walls
seems to fall through centuries
picking out one question:

from Cut of the Light: Poems 1965-2005 (Enitharmon Press, 2006), © Jeremy Hooker 2006, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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