COBHAM WOODS

In Cobham Woods the Nightingale is singing in the dusk
The Elephant in Regent’s Park is polishing his tusk,
The man who sweeps the crossing clean is leaning on his broom,
In Camden Town the Handyman is papering a room;
The pretty Nursemaids with their prams go chattering in the park,
The driver of the Flying Scot is thundering through the dark;
And each and everyone of them, in all their varied moods
Is dreaming of the road to Heaven that runs through Cobham Woods.

The Chauffeur in the traffic jam, the Policeman on his beat,
The Postman on his weary round with tired and aching feet,
The Butcher and the Carpenter, the Publican, and Clown,
The man who watches holes in roads in case the cars fall down;
The Magistrate upon the Bench, the Usher in the Court,
The dignified Solicitor with Caveot and Tort,
The Bad Bewildered Burglar caught redhanded with the goods,
Is dreaming of the Road to Heaven that runs through Cobham Woods.

The Doctor and the Clergyman – but why enumerate? –
For every creature living needs SOME armour against Fate:
And all the little worried men and all their worried wives
MUST have a dream to keep them sane while coping with their lives.
For each and every one of them there burns a secret flame,
For each and every one of them it bears a different name;
For some the Mountains’ majesty, the sea in all its moods –
For me, it is the Golden Road that runs through Cobham Woods.

O South and East to Rochester I take the Dover Road,
And every mile that drops behind is lightening the load,
The traffic lights at Bexleheath are green for me to go
The way is clear at Dartford Cross, I never need to slow;
And then – Springhead, the Northfleet sign, the Tollgate Inn is past
As I come up to Singlewell, I’m free! I’m free at last!
The laughing water flashes by, and with a heart elate
I turn off into Cobham Woods and pass through Heaven’s Gate.

By Donald Ian McGregor
1908 – 1985

Written at Gravesend
20.7.1961

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