Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Wikipedia on the village

This poem was written for a 2008 competition on the theme of crossroads. It has been published in Sunrise , the magazine of the East of England branch of my professional body.

No one's yet taken me up on my offer of chocolate for the name of the archaeologist whose memoirs I commented on in that previous post. I hereby offer chocolate similarly for the name of the village, though I reserve the right to award it only to people who couldn't be expected to know my remembered village from knowing me.


You could see York and Beverley, it stated
(across the Wolds? the Humber?), on clear days.
It said the market cross was desecrated
"some thirty years ago" (how's that for haze?)

-- stones taken to mend roads. (The 1970s?)
It smelt Victorian in every word.
1853, with the history's
claim: "I wikified this till I got bored."

So I have turned the village to my own
site of first wikifying. I stripped out
landmarks that weren't, and bailiffs' names long gone,
all 1853 that was in doubt.

I listed beacon, cross and windmill, showed
where you could find more data with ArchSearch.
Of course I scrapped the tale of cross and road.
I kept the paragraph about the church.

It was my church, when younger. Hence I knew
what you could see and not see from the ridge,
the broken cross, flat northward carrland view
beyond. I grew up in the vicarage.

Dreams that I'm back feel late, disturbed. They are.
By day I run a subject library.
Books, e-books, ArchSearch, Wikipedia
form a crossroads that's work enough for me.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The offer of chocolate for correct identification of the village is hereby withdrawn, as I came clean about it in tweets on 2 March 2013. The village is Gringley on the Hill in Nottinghamshire, England. The tweets were on account of the parish church's excellent memorial service to my father, the Rev. Ivon Baker (1928-2011), who had been vicar there for 32 years to 1994.