Last January on a bright showery day a magnificent rainbow arched around the village across the northern sky. The best ever, it seemed at the time. Initially bright in the west over Broughton Gifford, that intensity soon transferred to Bowden Hill in the east, and then, all to swiftly, sadly, it was all gone.
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The child is father of the man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
Wordsworth wrote this on March 26, 1802. The day after, he began to write his longer and better known Ode: Intimations of Immortality.
Men heard this roar of parleying starlings, saw,
A thousand years ago even as now,
Black rooks with white gulls following the plough
So that the first are last until a caw
Commands that last are first again, – a law
Which was of old when one, like me, dreamed how
A thousand years might dust lie on his brow
Yet thus would birds do between hedge and shaw.
Time swims before me, making as a day
A thousand years, while the broad ploughland oak
Roars mill-like and men strike and bear the stroke
Of war as ever, audacious or resigned,
And God still sits aloft in the array
That we have wrought him, stone-deaf and stone-blind.
Edward Thomas wrote this in 1916, and was killed a year later, at Arras. Thomas came to the village in 1913 during his bicycle ride from London to the Quantocks. He wrote …
“Under elms near Semington the threshing-machine boomed; its unchanging note mingled with a hiss at the addition of each sheaf. Otherwise the earth was the rooks’, heaven was the larks’, and I rode easily on along the good level road somewhere between the two”.