Croft Castle and Parkland
a silent walk in remembrance of those affected by conflict
marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War
22 July, 2014, free, booking essential
a pair of poems will be read and poppy seeds scattered
memorial installation open from 23 July
Adonis from ‘Desert’
Basil Bunting from ‘The Spoils’
The cities dissolve, and the earth is a cart loaded with dust.
Only poetry knows how to pair itself to this space.
No road to this house, a siege,
and his house is graveyard.
From a distance, above his house
a perplexed moon dangles
from threads of dust.
I said: this is the way home, he said: No
you can’t pass, and aimed his bullet at me. Very well then, friends and their homes
in all of Beirut are my companions.
Road for blood now –
Blood about which a boy talked
whispered to his friends:
nothing remains in the sky now
except holes called “stars.”
The city’s voice was too tender, even the winds
would not tune its strings –
The city’s face beamed
like a child arranging his dreams for nightfall
bidding the morning to sit beside him on his chair.
They found people in bags:
a person without a head
a person without hands, or tongue
a person choked to death
and the rest had no shapes and no names.
– Are you mad? Please don’t write about these things.
translated from the Arabic by Khaled Mattawa
from The Spoils
Broken booty but usable
along the littoral, frittering into the south.
We marvelled, careful of craters and minefields,
noting a new-painted recognisance
on a fragment of fuselage, sand drifting into dumps,
a tank’s turret twisted skyward,
here and there a lorry unharmed
out of fuel or the crew scattered;
leaguered in lines numbered for enemy units,
gulped beer of their brewing,
mocked them marching unguarded to our rear;
discerned nothing indigenous, never a dwelling,
but on the shore sponges stranded and beyond the reef
unstayed masts staggering in the swell,
till we reached readymade villages clamped on cornland,
empty, Arabs feeding vines to goats;
at last orchards aligned, girls hawked by their mothers
from tent to tent, Tripoli dark
under a cone of tracers.
Old in that war after raising many crosses
rapped on a tomb at Leptis; no one opened.
Basil Bunting, from ‘The Spoils, III’
Basil Bunting, Complete Poems, ed. Richard Caddel (Bloodaxe Books, 2000)
with permission of the publisher on behalf of the author’s estate, www.bloodaxebooks.com
Born Ali Ahmad Said Esber to a farming Alawite family. in Latalia, Syria, Adonis is known as a pioneer of the prose poem in Arabic, at times using a montage style of documentary to meditate on such contemporary disasters as the Israeli invasion of Lebanon (1982). A prolific and innovative poet, his work combines the Sufi-inspired mysticism of his upbringing with his astringent political views. As a critic, he has espoused a highly controversial, deeply critical position on the relationship of Arabic culture to the West, which saw him expelled from the Arab Writers’ Union in 1995 due to pressure from Syria. He has, since 2011, been outspoken in his criticism of the Syrian Civil War.
Adonis, from ‘Desert’, trans. Khaled Mattawa
in Selected Poems, copyright © 2012 Yale University Press.
Reprinted by permission of The Wylie Agency. All rights reserved.
Basil Bunting (1900–1985)
Born in Scotswood-on-Tyne, Basil Bunting remained a poet of Northumbria, despite years of exile in London, Italy, the Canary Islands, the United States and Persia. Bunting's Quaker schooling led him to declare himself a conscientious objector during World War I, and he was imprisoned in Wormwood Scrubs and Winchester. After the war he worked as a music journalist and editor, living in Rapallo, a shepherd's cottage in Northumberland, and Tenerife. Bunting enlisted in the RAF in the Second World War, and was sent to Persia as a translator. Staying on in Tehran after the end of hostilities, he served in the British Embassy, wrote for The Times and worked for British Intelligence. The Spoils (1965), published by Connie and Tom Pickard's Morden Tower, marked his return to poetry. It was followed, in 1966, by his acclaimed poetic "autiobiography" Briggflatts.
from ‘The Spoils, III’
Basil Bunting, Complete Poems, (Bloodaxe Books, new ed. 2000)
Croft Castle and Parkland
The crenellated manor-house of Croft castle sits in a 1500-acre historic woodland of Spanish chestnut, oak and beech, within sight of the Brecon Beacons. Five members of the family at Croft Castle served during the First World War. Two of the sons of the house were killed in action – at Ypres and Gallipoli. St Michael's church at Croft contains the wooden cross which marked the battlefield grave at Ypres where one of the sons fell. The parkland at Croft bears traces of older wars, including an Iron Age hill-fort and the Mortimer Trail, which runs from Ludlow to Kington, named after the Marcher Lords.
A circular walk starting from the castle at Croft, returning via Sir James Croft’s war grave
3 miles, duration approx 1.5 hours, from 14.00pm
Please wear sensible footwear and bring waterproofs in case of rain. Walks may take place on uneven ground and use stiles. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
The west front of Croft Castle,
© National Trust
lime avenue at Croft Castle,
© National Trust Images: Rupert Truman
A Trust New Art commission for National Trust, supported by Arts Council England