The Forbury Gardens

entry picture

Through a side gate, whose unassuming frame

is draped in swags of pale wisteria

like hairstyles worn by Victorian girls,

I return to a half-remembered space,

its neat enclosure more clearly defined

by flint walls than the past will ever be;


and where parched lawns, diminished and threadbare

in the unseasonable heat, mark out

a territory that can’t now be repossessed –

the tiny fortress of Forbury Hill,

the bandstand’s lookout, and the benched refuge

we reinvented as a secret cave.


Today even the lion towering above 

his plinth seems at a loss to justify

those fallen in Afghan wars, staring,

muscle-bound, into a sky where cranes loll,

ponderingly, raising disposable

futures from a debris of junked decades.


Like vague impulsive ghosts, those earlier selves

who rampaged in drab, unfashionable

clothes, our echoes trapped as a sibilance

in the tunnel that brought us, crash landing,

onto holy ground: a ruined abbey’s

lost domain of ritual and trauma.


Hagiography and a dead language

bound us to our past, the tedium also

of a Corpus Christi parade winding

slowly through these gardens, the air heavy

with hymns and incense, my tired head mesmerised

by a thurible clattering against its chains.



◄ Trumpet

Sicilian Elephants ►


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M.C. Newberry

Mon 22nd Jun 2020 14:53

I agree with CBT. The words are like an outstretched hand.
Come walk with me to the past
That only the memory holds fast.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sun 21st Jun 2020 14:53

I don't know about any other readers, but you sure mesmerise me!

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