Monday, September 08, 2008

Where Will You Go When The Concrete Comes?

Where Will You Go When The Concrete Comes?

A canal-cut reservoir at Coate Water,

A manuscript of field, sky and lake-land

For Richard Jefferies and his muse,

Wandering east from England’s Chicago.

Recreation for Railway families,

Who couldn’t afford the annual Trip,

Just trying to forget the Great War

And short-time working.

It’s where my mother dived deep into the waves

Wind-whipped and keen before the polio scare,

And where mum and dad courted before the War.

It’s where I paddled in the 1950’s,

Thrilled by miniature railway rides,

Egg sandwiches and ice cream cornets,

In long summer holiday equal measure,

Until the smell of creosote and Woodbines

Wafted through the wooden changing rooms,

With the 11 Plus, The Beatles,

And Don Rogers on a thousand transistor radios.

It’s where young men impressed their girl friends

With a clean sweep of the oars from out the boathouse,

Cries of joy echoing in the willowed, muddied banks,

While the great crested grebe stared up to the Downs

And the thatched cottages up in Hodson,

“The Gamekeeper At Home”, still.

You can see all these memories reflected in the waters,

You can see all of yours too,

Take a walk and peer into the shifting surface,

There they are just waiting to be netted,

With the rod and line of recollection,

But where will they all go when the concrete comes?

by Stuart Butler