A time that glowed
Once it was a time that glowed:
turned-up collar, hurrying through glistening, early 60s streets.
A kind of muddling, room at Odsal Top,
or summat like that;
steam train always whistling in the distance
Dashing for the bus; overcoats,
shopping bags, windows steamed up,
Running the last yards from the corner,
hammering at the door, yelling, no reason,
just glad to be home, welcomed in, to warmth,
smell of drying clothes, butter melting into toast.
The world inside bright,
sealed from wind down the valley.
Waiting were exams to be taken,
choices to be made, but not for years yet.
Right now, the only question was:
“Did Rovers win today, dad?”
Years later, sniffing that time of the season,
the change in the air, he shivered.
Following the job, he’d moved down south,
where the winters sold you short.
No snow, just lashings of rain
that drenched the garden day after day
and left him yearning for that wind off the tops
that stung the cheek and made you gasp,
The anarchy of blizzards wiping the slate clean,
making you almost think you could start again,
instead of watching petunias past their best
clinging to dry, browning stalks,
the last geraniums awaiting the blackening frost
He pulled on his jacket and sorted the greenhouse,
stowed away the mower, washed the pots,
and came in to check if Rovers had won.
Waiting for the kettle his eyes closed;
he fled once more to his northern streets
and dreamed of the lights across the valley,
like a switchback ride in the November dark