As I in melancholy thought stood
In yonder wood
My attention was caught
By a path of light.
Oh to take flight
Down that track
Without looking back.
But as I neared
That path disappeared,
And I do lack
The will to go forward or back.
I remember the cut-through,
Graffiti on the fence,
Perhaps deriving a sense
Of power from their obscene scrawls
On wooden walls.
The Sex Pistols featured there, and perhaps the name of some hapless girl
In lust and pride.
How the years whirl
Now I can not spy
The narrow place
Where I would trace
In nettle and bramble
As I did scramble
Through the thicket of my mind.
Now I can not find
the old track
That leads back
To whence I came.
A barred gate
Patiently does wait
And beyond it, my fate?
Oh sleepy cricket
Where the languid batsman keeps his wicket.
I well recall
The sound of bat on ball.
Wicket after wicket did fall.
Then with one master stroke
A boy the classroom window broke …!
The above is based on my recollection of a game of cricket in which I participated while attending a school for the blind in Liverpool. We used footballs containing ballbearings in order that those with little or no sight could identify where the ball was (cricket balls would have been far too dangerous)!
A boy on a bus, the clear plastic bag clutched tightly in his right hand. The fish wriggles but it’s watery cage holds fast. Close by the child’s beloved grandfather stands.
On reaching home the fish is transferred into the brightly lit aquarium, to be lost among others of it’s kind.
“What do fish think?” The child wonders as silent creatures glide through water heated to just the correct temperature. “Are you happy?” he ponders, his nose inches from the glass.
(As a child my grandfather built an aquarium. Being visually impaired I am unable to read print or determine details. I can, however see bright colours and I derived great pleasure from watching the fish in their watery home).
Walking in the park something smooth and round under my feet. I long to explore like the small boy I once was, to bend down and pick it up. What will people think, A strange middle-aged man bending over in a park full of autumn? The child thirsting for discovery contends with the staid adult who stands on ceremony. The child wins. I bend retrieving the smooth round conker. No not quite smooth but beautiful in it’s imperfection, soft in my hands. Should I take it home to harden in the dark like the small boy I once was?
Thoughts of my grandfather. Walking in the woods full of autumn. Us two together gathering nature’s fallen fruit. Opening acorns my blind hands feeling the kernel inside. Part of something I didn’t then understand.
The conker slips from my hands. I bend trying to retrieve the fallen prize. So many conkers, impossible to know which one it is.
I return home and play rough and tumble with my dog. His tail wags furiously no sad thoughts fill his head.