Saturday, 26 December 2020

A Contrast

 When days were very long

And nights were filled with stars,

Beheld in wonder through small child’s eyes

And full moon shone upon the reservoirs

And gleamed where crowds of seagulls lay asleep,

Who’d settled with the setting sun,

Whose winter pink had glinted

Where the moon’s path now reflected platinum,

And back indoors

The coal smoke in great clouds 

Went up the sooty chimney breast

Was drawn directly, not inclined to fill the room,

Or drift out gently by the inglenook,

And there were teddybears as gifts from grandmamas

One felt chapped lips and snotty nose

And aching ears and legs and throat so sore,

That one could hardly speak at all,

One woke in terror saw the flowers of the paper on the wall

Rise up as if they grew upon some sheer cliff

Scared, alone, in illness and despair,

And wet the bed and really didn’t care.

Because in innocence there is no guilt,

And no responsibility, just honest pain,

And dread of ghosts and dark and loneliness.

It’s only now, with passing years

And looking through tired eyes which strain

To tell the planets from the twinkling lights

That sprinkle Heaven or the Milky way

On bright, but yet polluted Christmas nights,

Remembered moments from those childhood dreams,

Impose in such a way to stop one still,

And focus on the coming of one’s death,

And symptoms which were taken in one’s stride

And borne, as part of childhood’s grotty state,

Create a kind of terror in the mind,

And thoughts of un-starred darkness and last breath

Conflate, elide.

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