RITES OF PASSAGE
Each Christmas we all gathered there,
‘Aunt Clare, has more room ,after all’ with
her trestled tables and chair.
Grown-ups swigging their brown bottled ale,
young-uns, lemonade with paper straw,
VE style parties, once more.
Lunch over, the voice decibels rose,
raucus laughter oiled by the beer
brought forth more plates of festive cheer.
Cards slid noiselessly over the American
cloth, copper coins switching from pot to pot,
enthralled children watching on, ‘til
banished with a special treat, to the cold
stairs, or now bare front room, or to play
out in the deserted twilight street.
Every year the ritual was much the same,
a family ‘bring and share’ , long before
such gatherings were given this name.
Alongside a Chiltern chalkstream
I lay me down to dream,
of country paths,stiles and steep slopes,
those days,long ago,filled with hope;
I dreamed of days of summer sun
when my life had just begun,
climbing trees,cricket on the green,
the first time I made the school team;
Football with coats and tennis ball,
bonfire night fireworks in the Fall,
carol singing through silent streets,
paper chains and Christmas treats.
Crystal clear,vision's backward gaze
brought forth from nostalgia's haze.
Out of the yard,my daughter and me,on a hot
summer day of Eighty-three.Hastoe to Cadsden,
there and back,eight hours in the saddle,for our
first all-day hack.Onto the canter path,down to
Paines End,through Fox Lane the route did wend.
Into a copse ,keeping the pace to an even flow.
Up to Dunsmore,past the Black Horse, we followed
the course.Chequers, Pondswood,down hill to the pub.
Horses tethered for a rest,we ate our ploughmans with
a pint of the landlord's best.Back in the into the saddle,
at the canter to retrace our steps and in Hastoe as the
clock struck four,to stack the tack on the stable door.
Listen to me read these poems on youtube under name ichthyschiro