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Bridge Over The Aire Book 6



Bonfire Night beckoned us to the bridge

By Saint Hilda’s where we started down

Knostrop to chump but I trailed behind

With Margaret when it was late September

The song of summer ceased and fires in

Blackleaded grates began and we were

Hidden from the others by the bridge’s span.
2 When you bent I saw the buds of your breasts As you meant and I laughed at your craft when You blushed and denied and finally cried But there was a smile in your eyes.
3 It was the season of yo-yo’s in yellow or Pink or pillar-box red and you spooled out The thread as only you could and it dipped And rose like a dancer.
4 The paddock by the tusky sheds was cropped And polished by the horses’ hooves, their Nostrils flared and they bared their teeth As we passed and tossed their manes as we Shied from the rusty fence where peg-legged We jumped the cracks and pulled away each Dandelion head, “Pee-the-bed! Pee-the bed!” Rubbing the yellow dust into each other’s Cheeks and chins as we kissed.
5 The bluebells had died and on the other side The nettle beds were filled with broken branches White as bone, clouds were tags of wool, the Night sky magenta sands with bands of gold And bright stars beckoned and burned like Ragged robins in a ditch and rich magnolias In East End Park.
6 I am alone in the dark Remembering Bonfire Night Of nineteen-fifty four When it was early dusk Your hair was gold As angels’ wings.
7 From the binyard in the backstreet we brought The dry stored branches, broken staves under The taunting stars and we have never left That night or that place on the Hollows The fire we built has never gone out and The light in your eyes is bright: We took the road by the river with a star Map and dream sacks on our backs.
8 The Hollows stretched into darkness The fire burned in the frost, sparks Crackled and jumped and floated Stars into the invisible night and The log glowed red and the fire we Fed has never died.
9 The catherine-wheel pinned to the palings Hissed and spun as we ran passed the railings Rattling our sticks until the stars had beat retreat.
10 From the night comes a figure Into the firelight: Margaret Gardiner My first, my only love, the violet pools Of your eyes, your voice still calling, “I am here, I am waiting.
” 11 Where the road turns Past St Hilda’s Down Knostrop By the Black Road By the Red Road Interminable blue And I remember you, Margaret, in your Mauve blazer standing By the river, your Worn-out flower patterned Frock and black Laceless runners 12 Into the brewer’s yard Stumbled the drayhorses Armoured in leather And clashing brass Strident as Belshazzar’s Feast, rich as yeast On Auntie Nellie’s Baking board, barrels Banked on barrels From the cooper’s yard.
13 Margaret, are you listening? Are your eyes still distant And dreaming? Can you hear My voice in Eden? My poems are all for you The one who never knew Silent and most generous Muse, eternal primavera Under the streetlamps Of Leeds Nine.
14 Margaret, hold my hand As we set out into the Land of summers lost A day-time ghost surrenders At the top of the steps To the Aire where we Looked over the Hollows Misted with memory and Images of summer.
We are standing on the corner of Falmouth Place We are standing by the steps to the Aire We are standing outside the Maypole Falling into Eden.
15 Falling into Eden is just a beginning Hoardings on the gable ends for household Soap, washing is out on the lines Falmouth Street full of children playing, Patrick Keown, Keith Ibbotson, the Flaherty Twins spilling over the pavements, holding A skipping rope, whirling and twirling; Margaret you never missed a turn While I could never make one, out before I began.

Poem by Barry Tebb
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