Carter at Swaffham  


We know him: it’s

the Carter lad who

painted dear Lady

Amherst’s lap-dog


and the Vicar’s old

bull-terrier, quite

without schooling – son

of our gamekeeper’s son.


And if his imagination

pierces a tiny hole

in these venerable walls

and holds a candle


through to a room full

of wonderful things

but utterly foreign to

a decorously mounted


hunting party with

its fine equipage,

its whips and sticks and

stuccoed wooden courtesy –


then what is that to us?

Tally-ho! and on towards

the twentieth century: let

the boy be content


with keeping trespassers

from our noble pile;

or immortalise our

ailing Golden Retrievers.