This beautifull poem written by Robert Thomas reflects back to a day during the Summer holidays whilst growing up in the 50’s.
Seventh strike of the parlour clock and warmth upon my face,
Caressed me from night’s slumber to a school-less summer’s day,
Shirt and shorts, socks and shoes neatly laid before,
Then two by two the stairs were bound as hunger made its play.
Wheat on offer in biscuit shapes, or puffed, both plain or sugared,
Or grains of rice all crispy baked or golden flakes of corn,
Though on holy days, of Christian faith, porridge oats in bowls of steam,
And sardines, Cod’s roe or kippers smoked, were feasts that faced the dawn.
With belly full and chores all done, approval sought and given,
Plans and thoughts of a previous eve formed structure in my mind,
So on tip toe, with outstretched arm, I slipped the bolt to freedom,
Then quietly, without a backward glance, I close the door behind.
With shielded eyes I stood and stared at a world now long forgotten,
No shrill of phones, or hum of cars, just tractors laboured tones,
Or lows and bleats, from cows and sheep and a cockrel’s morning call,
And peals of bells that pierced the air to call the faithful from their homes.
Through the valley I wandered, following trails of man and fox,
Amongst regiments of orchards where rabbits played their game,
Past cherry trees and apples, plums and damsons too, then I stopped and listened well,
And from far beyond where the eye could see a cuckoo called its name.
Further still I ventured in the warmth of that Summer’s’ day,
Towards the sound of thunder of a nearby foaming race,
A reminder of the dangers of a profession now long forgot,
Of a time when industry was evolving and lived at a different pace.
And on and on I hurried, for several miles or more,
Until I spied a lonely willow towering above the river’s bed,
And in its shadow a flash of silvered salmon darted amongst the gravel banks,
Before racing through the rapids, towards dangers far ahead.
In its shade I sheltered, then in the long grass lay,
With eyes half closed I followed as swallows danced above,
And listened to the sounds of crickets and the waters running by,
As I marvelled at the solitude, a joy I’d learned to love.
Moments turned to memories, with a lifetime to recall,
Seconds into minutes and then hours or maybe more,
And in the twilight, with heavy heart, I journeyed homeward bound,
Then on tip toe, with outstretched arm, I slid back the bolt and quietly locked the door.
Written by Robert Thomas 2014
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