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Cotswold Stone

The gale has flung its Severn salt Against our walls for centuries, A joking sculptor with clubbed hands That pock and scar the Cotswold stone. Woodsmoke stains. Lichen dapples Delicately, yellow and gray. Moss grows headstrong through our town, Across the face of Cotswold stone. Across the mason's furrowed lines The great stone sill has split. With rule and level, hammer, chisel, They built our town for centuries; The secret masons with agile hands Shaped squared-off blocks of Cotswold stone. Now their blocks are smooth and round, The martins build their nests in cracks, And Cotswold stone will catch and hold The summer's dusk for winter's night. The masons ruled the squares and cut That stone might live, exhaling light.

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