A bench in the garden.

July and shirt sleeve warm,

The sun just sunk.

Not Eden nor Gethsemane.

Deep shadows cast by orange sodium light.

No demons, no terrors lurked,

But temptation? Oh yes. Temptation.

It was a meeting and a parting of the ways.

North Road met Western Avenue.

A ring intersected at the cardinal points,

A sigil.

From Tamium, or was it Bovium?

Nothing is certain.

At its centre this sacred grove.

I’d poured libation and sacrificed my love

And on the edge,

Souls rolled East and West below me.

Above me, North and South.

We had come, we had seen,

And 80 of 120 conquered.

My passport made,

East, West, North and South.

Places, people, things, fights,

Joys, loves, losses, triumphs and disasters

And treat them all the same?

A way carved by others,

Follow and all would be mine,

More learning, more tests, more joining,

Embracing a well ploughed furrow,

A path already trod,

That would guide, steer, nurture

To the grave.

A sports car roared overhead

A lorry growled East to England

To port and ship and foreign fields

Or Home Counties supermarket.

The posted way?

Or East and West and North and South?

Choices called.

Destinations? No.

All roads end the same.

I rose, watched tarmac unroll

To where we all will end

But the journey would be mine.

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