How the memories of One’s childhood come to mind in a moments reflection on a Summer’s day – maybe seventy years later!
Our choir school was housed in a Manor House in Northampton and I moved there with the school as a boarder after it left Bayswater in London. We sang our little hearts out at the adjoining church. Sadly, the paths on which I trod are no longer in existence – as far as Google Earth shows me. A long ‘another story’.
The only child slowly walks pathways
Once stepped upon by Anne Boleyn.
The gravel barely rustles or crackles
Beneath his young plimsoled feet.
(Close where the rouge and blanc roses
Were co-planted so to meet.)
Reflecting (As maybe she herself so did)
How sweet the scent of the Purple
Pathway-lining Lavendula freeze.
Alone, apart from her shadow presence,
He is unsuspecting the unsettling effect
Of a sudden temperate Summer breeze
Weaving, and waving the peach-like fuzz
Of his virginal pink boyhood cheeks,
It somehow now evokes new and vital senses:
Sending tingles and ripples from head to toe,
A rising to the sensitive vellus hairs
Upon the back of his lightly suntanned neck.
Was that a spectral woman over there
Passing through the corner break
Of the bounding, surrounding, greenwood hedge?
Was that an Admiral Red flouncing, and announcing
Joyous life through this Indian Summer’s
Warmly unaccustomed perfumed air?
For once he did not feel alone –
In this the old orchard garden
Of his choral boarding school.
Here he could escape the loneliness,
The onlyness, of his isolated being:
Surrounded solely by the friendly Spirits,
Who listened to his Sunday soprano renderings,
Whilst Ruffled, cassocked, scrubbed,
Angelic faced, and much practised, he
A Soloist, only.