I made my way down
Through the long grass and hares’ tails
To the eroding dunes which
Hold back the water.
The children were lost
Waist high in the cow parsley,
And pale puffs of pollen and
Floated around them.
You were not with me
And the still, hot afternoon
was slow in passing.
5th July 1968, Jersey
We built a fort of seaweed
Against the rising tide,
We made it round and solid
And then all climbed inside.
The waves splashed up against it
Till we were wet with spray,
Our fort began to crumble
And seaweed float away.
“Quick, quick, the walls are giving!
Build up the broken gate!
Let’s reinforce the ramparts
Before it is too late!”
In spite of all our efforts
To stop the rushing tide,
Our castle sank beneath the waves
And water came inside.
“Abandon ship” my Daddy cried,
“Let’s leave it to the sea!”
We scrambled up the beach to Mum
And went back home for tea.
26 August 1979
Hare Summer leads a chase along the lanes
And scatters torn up sunlight under trees
And on the banks where wild garlic grows
Among the heavy headed grasses.
Your house lies in his path along the marsh
Near where the golden willows burst with leaf
And watch-spring bracken day by day unwinds
Among cow pats and clumps of almond gorse.
Inside the house the afternoon sleeps cool
Behind the dark blue blinds. Above the stove
The honey-coloured cat stirs in his sleep,
The tap drips in the sink and china laid for tea
Waits on the tray.
Beneath the hedge among the unpruned trees
We lie asleep or love-make in the sun.
Sweet paradise of childhood,
Oh, truly happy land,
Where friends in sea and sunshine
Across the golden sand
Of childhood’s endless summers
Go running hand in hand.
At the end of the path
Where the grass grows tall
And the bushes come down
Right over my head,
There’s a small summerhouse
Where often I crawl
To hide from the others
When it’s time for bed.
Frangipani by Aidan Smith
I have, my Love, no flowers for you today,
Small summer flowers from cool green country lanes,
No lilies of the valley which you love,
Sweet peas and honeysuckle, wild dog rose
And ragged robin tied with buttercups.
These things we love and for a time have left
And know instead the burning tropic sun,
The rains upon the palms and warm salt wind.
Take then these poems, their garden is your love,
Your sweetness gives them life, for you they grow.
Seychelles 4th May 1969
Haulms turn brown
In the sun.
Fall with vetch
The shorn lanes
Men with rods
Will pass here