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She is not any common Earth

Well this is how it seems to me...people being living changing beings, one treats them like neither god nor dolls, nor do I see why Brenda Windsor would be any exception, barring all that she represents to the people of Britain and the Commonwealth; more important is the reality that she is a very old lady, and having her shudder away in some wee white wrap throughout the rain and wind on the Thames is not very nice. It's even less nice that people her age die of hypothermia each winter - no flotilla for them, no pageant - but it just makes you wonder at what point everyone knew she was freezing and should be tucked away somewhere warm.

Still, she's paid to be that stalwart prow of British endurance, and she does it well enough. The day was a bit of a wash out perhaps? Dunno really. We had an indoor picnic and watched it on the telly. We had champagne and Pimms, and toasted the strange land that made us. I wish the flyover had happened, to see the old Lancaster Bombers again chokes me up even more than the little Dunkirk boats. This is no easy place to stamp itself in your blood and bones, but it has a magic, old and tough;

See you the ferny ride that steals
Into the oak-woods far?
O that was whence they hewed the keels
That rolled to Trafalgar.

See you the dimpled track that runs
All hollow through the wheat?
O that was where they hauled the guns
That smote King Philip's fleet!

Out of the Weald, the secret Weald,
Men sent in ancient years
The horse-shoes red at Flodden Field,
The arrows at Poitiers.

See you our little mill that clacks,
So busy by the brook?
She has ground her corn and paid her tax
Ever since Domesday Book.

See you our stilly woods of oak,
And the dread ditch beside?
O that was where the Saxons broke,
On the day that Harold died!

See you the windy levels spread
About the gates of Rye?
O that was where the Northmen fled,
When Alfred's ships came by!

See you our pastures wide and lone,
Where the red oxen browse?
O there was a City thronged and known,
Ere London boasted a house!

And see you, after rain, the trace
Of mound and ditch and wall?
O that was a Legion's camping-place,
When Caesar sailed from Gaul!

And see you marks that show and fade,
Like shadows on the Downs?
O they are the lines the Flint Men made,
To guard their wondrous towns!

Trackway and Camp and City lost,
Salt Marsh where now is corn;
Old Wars, old Peace, old Arts that cease,
And so was England born!

She is not any common Earth,
Water or Wood or Air,
But Merlin's Isle of Gramarye,
Where you and I will fare.
(Puck's Song - Rudyard Kipling)

Edited to add: Yes, I know there's much more to GB than England. I've kept the penultimate verse because it's pretty!



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