Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Brickfields

When you were a child
Were there secret pathways that you followed?
Through the scrub and hawthorn, past the rotting dump
To the railway sidings?
Did you climb into the brambles
Always careful not to choose
The glistening purple fruits
Of deadly nightshade
Masquerading as blackberries?
Did you poke a stick
Into the wasp’s nest
In the orange clay bank?
Did you watch the awesome steam trains
Thunder past –
Breath in the sharp smell
Of burning coal and steam?
Did you avoid the vipers
Sunning themselves by the rusty track?
Did you keep an eye out
For snipers
Hiding in the bushes along the ridge
And dodge the humming slug
Of air rifle?
Did you follow the high pathway
Across the abandoned brickfields
Along the turf-topped walls
That cornered the pits of dug-out clay?
Did you stare at the rusty carcass
Of the unexploded bomb
No doubt jettisoned
By a returning German bomber
And did you nudge it with your toe
To see if it ticked?

12 comments:

michael said...

Yes, I did. Well most of those things sound very firmiliar from my childhood.

Roger Stevens said...

All those things happened to me too. Well, except the bomb. I made that up - but I'm allowed to, being a poet and all.

The railway sidings and the brickfields aren't there now of course. The sidings is now a housing estate and the brickfields is a big industrial park. I often wonder what happened to the newt pond.

Syl said...

For me the wandering always lead to the creek. Great wonderful rocks to climb..and little fish to poke a finger at. Alas, it also held the occasional water moccasin which terrified me. So, each Sunday as I waded about, I wore my Sunday shoes...knowing mum would spank me when I returned home for again messing up my shoes. But it never stopped me from the journey.

michael said...

Always secret paths through overgrown deserted bungalows
Old basildons heritage from the pre war self build years
Overgrown brambly railway track too, a ghostly trail of
grassy sleepers in Corringham where we lived for two years when I was four or five (Herd lane school just down the road entioned before here)
Always poking sticks in things. making mud missiles to stick on the sticky stick to throw with added leverage. naughty boys with bows and arrows, catapults and swords tucked in stripey belts with the snake buckle.

hazel said...

Steam trains and bombs? No I am afraid I don't remember them..
more Megabuses and burst space hoppers..they don't sound so romantic though.
I did play in dirt a lot ..and made smokey bonefires.

Roger Stevens said...

Bonefires?
Wow! What were they?
Sounds like a good idea for a poem.

hazel said...

What does she mean "did" - she does still! Takes ages to get those pesky bones to light though!

michael said...

Sorry that last one was me. Hazel hadnt logged out. Coming up to 700 - wow!

hazel said...

I know it looked like a spelling mistook..by my grandad always called them BON-e-fires and thats how I have always written them..blame the old folks I say.
What rhymes with burst space hopper?
We love your Rabbit press publication....brilliant.

michael said...

Yes, terrific poetry and funny too. Thanks also for the nice FLOSS pages. Will soon have enough for the first issue!

Roger Stevens said...

burst space hopper
cursed face chopper
nurse chased whopper
worst taste plopper
terse laced topper
purse paced shopper
immerse ace bopper
verse plaice cropper
first placed proper

hazel said...

Thank you.