Middle England – a poem by Diana Durham

Middle England

a man and his wife, setting off
around the corner
on the pavement
by the staggered junction,
past the tall hedge toppling
its bounds

press button lights, bike lanes,
blurred cars, buses’ zig-
zag round the narrows
where the pub juts out—

grey trousers, three quarter
charcoal paddy, pink scarf,

ten minute walk
to catch the bus to town
or journey faraway.

The sky is textured damp
that does not fall but effloresces
in the air

middle age, middle England,
from the tolerant climate
where spiky palms grow
alongside rosemary, roses,
and ordinary life
runs on without old tragedies
of loss

where, in every village
and small town, churches—
raising funds for roofs,
spires—still mark
the centre

beyond safety barriers,
white lines, regulation,
the skies, the fields
persist, the heights
the green


Diana Durham is the author of three poetry collections: Sea of Glass (Diamond Press); To the End of the Night (Northwoods Press) Between Two Worlds (Chrysalis Poetry); the nonfiction The Return of King Arthur (Tarcher/Penguin); a debut novel
The Curve of the Land (Skylight Press); and a dramatic retelling of grail myth Perceval & the Grail: Perceval & the Grail Part 1 Morgana’s Retelling – YouTube

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