Officially ‘Lancing Ring’, the Clump was an ever-green feature on the skyline of my youth, a place to lift oneself above the coastal flatlands and contemplate what might be over the horizon. It was also where The North began.
The Clump had a dew-pond, quite empty of dew;
Its trees draped a shape on the Downs, so you knew
Which way was north; and from it, the view
Put things in perspective: there’s the World, here is You.
You walked up the Clump on a carpet of turf,
Laid thin on the chalk with an inch of good earth,
Whose greening imparted immeasurable worth
To the Downs that spanned Sussex, my county of birth.
Good for kite-flying, sausage-sizzles and fun,
You could stroll through the woods or stretch out in the sun.
Though it wasn’t enormous, when all’s said and done,
The Clump was unique: there could be only one.
To the south was the Channel; and the Judge eye could see
The east-to-west line of the Downs, green and free.
To the north – who could tell? A dark mystery:
My world ended here. That’s the North, this is Me.