Desolate Davidstow Moor

Kieron Williamson | Oil on Board | 14 x 20 inches

“It was awful weather at the meet, the rain coming in almost horizontally and bitterly cold. Somehow I managed to get some good photographs to work from. I wrote this poem to remind me of the day:


Winds through the fir trees wailed and roared,

Mist came down and the rain it poured;

And puddled up the sodden moors.

Sheep in the meadows graze away

Beside the belted Galloways

Who spend their whole lives out of doors

On desolate Davidstow Moor


Upon the moors on a wet Boxing Day,

Along a lane just off the highway

Arrives the throng of hunting folk

Wearing gaiters and raincoats

Warm scarves wrapped around their throats

Grimace under the skies’ grey cloak

On desolate Davidstow Moor


Clipped out horses are saddled up,

Polished boots in shining stirrup;

The riders gather on the grass-

And talk hunting and racing

Backs to the wind they’re bracing

All hoping the weather will pass

On desolate Davidstow Moor


The master astride his dark bay,

Whip in hand, ready for the fray;

The Whipper-in gathers each hound.

Perched on his saddle he yells his speech,

Riding cap aloft, high as he can reach,

His cries echoing all around

Desolate Davidstow Moor


On the last word he blows his horn

So this hunting day is born!

They all set off, the hounds in front,

Each rider on their trusty steed,

Cantering away and gaining speed,

Muds flings from hooves bearing the brunt

Of desolate Davidstow Moor


Wind like a knife cuts you in two,

A squall of sleet turns lips to blue,

The horses never refuse or care

And take the biggest stone wall,

Without a thought of a fall,

Landing each jump with a yard to spare!

On desolate Davidstow Moor


4 o’clock on Boxing Day noon,

Rain falls soft under a young moon;

Never such rain on a hunt before

All soaked to skin and weary,

Still force a grin and are bleary,

Think of hunting days of yore

On desolate Davidstow Moor


Muddy breeches hung up to dry,

In their beds they peacefully lie

And lull to the days delights,

With visions of horses in dreams,

Pirouette in silvery moonbeams,

Dreaming of hunting all night

On desolate Davidstow Moor.”


Availability: In stock