The Thinking Poet


Clarity of Old Days

Funny how clear those old days seem;

As clear as hills before rain.

How like cumulus the days pile up.

Days there were, predictable as clock-chime:

Sundays, always church and the muffin man, both announced by bells;

And roasting dinner smells, nose-ravishing, room lingering.

Mondays, sent for learning, knees grazed, trophies of brief freedom.

And gas-fumed washing-day scullery air;

Too large the mangle-handle for small hands.

Always to Granís on Tuesdays: a family round the piano,

Bottled ale and lemonade,

And Uncle calling lotto: "legs-eleven", "Kohinoor".

But mostly they were days without name,

Days bringing with them no credentials,

Though sometimes smiles of generous beneficence,

A few with Juggernaut magnificence.

As when that great inflated silver cigar, R101, slid through London skies;

When magestic "Mauritania" sailed up Thames.

But "best of all days" were laced with sounds and smells,

Moments like a snowball face-impacting.

Kidís yells, splashing-sounds through chlorinated air,

As we, impatient porpoises, paid pennies to get in.

An organís wail, a sirenís-song, wafting from the fair;

As we crash through clover, eager for a swing.

Treading needle-carpets, breathing resinous scent.

And from the distant band-stand strident brass blasts silent pines.

Buddleia wands, breeze-swaying, cast hypnotic spell;

Induce a Buddha trance as peacocks dance.

How clear those old days seem

With their endless summers,

The peace of perfumed pines,

Fairs that tear the air ceaselessly,

A praxis of Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays

Lost by right to mind and sight

As inconsequential, trite;

Yet strangely recurring in dotage dream, Mauritania-huge,

Always hovering overhead, airship-high.


7.8.2003, R.R.Cretchley