bear

Filmed for poetry slot on Oxford 6 one of the first local TV channels in the country. Filmed direct off TV hence quality. Summer 1999? I am stood on location i.e. in the Bear Pit it still there πŸ™‚

I am a lot younger (40) thinner and beardier…

The Bear Pit – Long Wittenham – 1999 from Shaun Belcher on Vimeo.

 

The poem is available in Farm Hand’s Radio above:

THE BEAR PIT

Council grass-cutter smooth
the sliced hay and clover ferments in warm bundles
in the crest and dip of this depression
a hundred yards short of the churchyard entrance.

The old building has fallen to dust
living only as a memory of a shadow at dusk.
Here the cocks once beat a flurry of blood and feather
and the shackled bears were unchained.

Later those bears danced, shifting in their chains
as the first generator spluttered into life under the chestnuts.
Then it was teeth and claws, a rowdy entertainment of
blood soaked pelts and simple wagers.

The clay beneath this hollow has drunk
up its four hundred years of dripping blood.
It has fed into the roots of every blade of grass
that now lies as smooth as fur
a cloak of lost bets, shattered bones and fears.