THE DARK HILL
by John Close 1947 - 2003
This tune was written by this web site owner's friend, local musician and song writer John Close,
when he lived at Caldecotte and looked up every day to the hill at Bow
John wrote some wonderful songs and melodies.
More than two years after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease,
John visited Dignitas in Switzerland where, surrounded by those he
loved, he took his own life on Monday 26th May 2003 at the age of 55.
The week before his trip I asked him about The Dark Hill and how he
came to compose it and with fingers which struggled to operate the
keyboard he wrote:
"I will never forget writing The Dark Hill, standing in my bedroom
gazing up to the woods, with one foot on the bed playing it on my new
I see them nowadays from my wheelchair and recall the times I ran
every yard of them, twice."
In another part of the country that sad bank holiday weekend in May
as I faced the fact that John had left us these three lines which so
aptly summed up my feelings flowed from the pen of a new poet, Betty
Empty spaces, the loss is mine,
Bleak, black broken,
Blossom frosted before its time.
John is greatly missed by all of us who knew him and his untimely
death brought an end to a prolific output of words and music of which
this waltz is one very small part. The Dark Hill, now played by
many folk musicians, has already crept into the folk tradition and will
no doubt live forever - like so much of his music - as it is handed
down from generation to generation. On the flight to Zurich John
|"I am thinking of my belief, which is
quite simple. When you are alive you can run, dance and
write novels. When you are dead you can't, and that's
it. All this talk of heaven and hell and reincarnation is
so much crossing fingers and plain guff. Beethhoven is now
part of the soil in Germany. Before that he wrote the 5th
symphony and that's what counts."
As John's family and friends met on Midsummer's Day 2003 for a final
goodbye to him, in a park in Milton Keynes, we played the Dark Hill in
accordance with his wishes.
You can read more about John at www.onefivenine.info/johnclose.htm.