A SUMMER OUTING BY THE THAMES
The Thames lay out of reach,
I cut through from the road
in Clark's sandals, short trousers,
past the backs of shadowed shanties on stilts.
Reaching up for an apple
fell into stingers and brambles,
defiant, disbelieving the pain.
Finally there was the river
framed by green arbours
fingers of willow draped low,
a flotilla of drifting blossom.
Upstream was where the rich people lived.
Mum and Dad were out of sight behind me,
finding time for themselves.
We had travelled by deep green bus
at a brisk pace,
the welcome smell of oil and leather
a robust reminder of escape
under clapperboard cabin skies
then ice cream, lemonade,
deck chairs, sun.
Walking back by way of Magna Carta field
this time they went on ahead;
I missed the proper path,
legs bogged down
sandals gripped by mud
tears of anger and abandonment.
We wondered where you were,
said my mother
suppressing a snigger of amusement,.
After all it had been a good day.