And so once upon a year when young
As spring, and heir to haunting stories
Told down the long evenings,
Wild, yet not wretched, with catapult and stones,
Over the bomb site which were our fields,
Now buried in memories by time and its hands.
On mantle covered days we went our ways
Through storms not yet full blown, and had the look
Of mischief in the circle of our eyes;
Sweet were the teeth of penny feasting, schools
Our private prisons, Saturday's our praised parole to run the roads of freedom to our haunts.
And so once upon a year when knee-high,
In scruffy clothes of choice, dark
Shoes turned light by dust,
And grubby, tubby, short and smiling,
There did I wander far, yet chased no star
Across dry desert, nor sang hymns to a fear;
On the holy opening late Sundays, where suns
Let not the glimmer in hearts go waste,
I fled nor raced to meet no end
As days drew windows to be close.
1974 poem first published in my first book of poems in that year. (c)Terry Collett