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 ►

Comments

Profile image

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.

Profile image

Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sun 21st Jun 2020 14:53

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

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message