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,
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?
All roads end the same.
I rose, watched tarmac unroll
To where we all will end
But the journey would be mine.