Following on from his visit to Combs last summer with the Rural Coffee Caravan, and all the postcards sent in by residents, Dean created this poem about the many paths leading to the Bench.
The Bench in a Field with a View
was down by Gail’s house, she said, walked
the dog there every day. You get to the end of the road
and just inside the field there’s such a breath-taking view
there had to be a bench. It’s where you go for the sunset.
The best view around here, another man said,
overlooks fields and cricket ground
and what was the Gardeners Arms.
It’s got its own bench and you look down
into the valley, all unspoilt.
Is it the one in the field? I asked.
One by one they told me of their local throne
and how to find it – from the top end of the village
or just down the track from the High Street,
easy from either end of the lane. And that view
of rapeseed, barley and wheat, footpaths
criss-crossed by pheasants, hare and deer.
Lastly, I met the man whose house used to be
thatched and had the fire before he bought it.
He said he’d take me, though it was August
and late, the fields harvested and ploughed.
To be honest, he preferred the view from Poplar Hill,
the medieval woods behind St. Mary’s Church,
saved from the developers. It’s literally in the gap
before our house, he said, you’ll find your bench
almost hidden from passers-by. But now I know exactly
where to look, I can see what they’re all talking about.