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Crossing the Frontier

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Written by: Alec Derwent (A D) Hope | Biography
 Crossing the frontier they were stopped in time, 
Told, quite politely, they would have to wait: 
Passports in order, nothing to declare 
And surely holding hands was not a crime 
Until they saw how, ranged across the gate, 
All their most formidable friends were there.
Wearing his conscience like a crucifix, Her father, rampant, nursed the Family Shame; And, armed wlth their old-fashioned dinner-gong, His aunt, who even when they both were six, Had just to glance towards a childish game To make them feel that they were doing wrong.
And both their mothers, simply weeping floods, Her head-mistress, his boss, the parish priest, And the bank manager who cashed their cheques; The man who sold him his first rubber-goods; Dog Fido, from whose love-life, shameless beast, She first observed the basic facts of sex.
They looked as though they had stood there for hours; For years - perhaps for ever.
In the trees Two furtive birds stopped courting and flew off; While in the grass beside the road the flowers Kept up their guilty traffic with the bees.
Nobody stirred.
Nobody risked a cough.
Nobody spoke.
The minutes ticked away; The dog scratched idly.
Then, as parson bent And whispered to a guard who hurried in, The customs-house loudspeakers with a bray Of raucous and triumphant argument Broke out the wedding march from Lohengrin.
He switched the engine off: "We must turn back.
" She heard his voice break, though he had to shout Against a din that made their senses reel, And felt his hand, so tense in hers, go slack.
But suddenly she laughed and said: "Get out! Change seatsl Be quickl" and slid behind the wheel.
And drove the car straight at them with a harsh, Dry crunch that showered both with scraps and chips, Drove through them; barriers rising let them pass Drove through and on and on, with Dad's moustache Beside her twitching still round waxen lips And Mother's tears still streaming down the glass.


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