Guest poem sent in by Frank O'Shea
(Poem #1098) Indoor Games near Newbury
In among the silver birches, Winding ways of tarmac wander And the signs to Bussock Bottom, Tussock Wood and Windy Break. Gabled lodges, tile-hung churches Catch the lights of our Lagonda As we drive to Wendys party, Lemon curd and Christmas cake Rich the makes of motor whirring Past the pine plantation purring Come up Hupmobile Delage. Short the way our chauffeurs travel Crunching over private gravel, Each from out his warm garage. O but Wendy, when the carpet Yielded to my indoor pumps. There you stood, your gold hair streaming, Handsome in the hall light gleaming There you looked and there you led me Off into the game of Clumps. Then the new Victrola playing; And your funny uncle saying "Choose your partners for a foxtrot. Dance until it's tea o'clock Come on young 'uns, foot it feetly." Was it chance that paired us neatly? I who loved you so completely. You who pressed me closely to you, Hard against your party frock. "Meet me when you've finished eating." So we met and no one found us. O that dark and furry cupboard, While the rest played hide-and-seek. Holding hands our two hearts beating. In the bedroom silence round us Holding hands and hardly hearing Sudden footstep, thud and shriek Love that lay too deep for kissing. "Where is Wendy? Wendy's missing." Love so pure it had to end. Love so strong that I was frightened When you gripped my fingers tight. And hugging, whispered "I'm your friend." Goodbye Wendy. Send the fairies, Pinewood elf and larch tree gnome. Spingle-spangled stars are peeping At the lush Lagonda creeping Down the winding ways of tarmac To the leaded lights of home. There among the silver birches, All the bells of all the churches Sounded in the bath-waste running Out into the frosty air. Wendy speeded my undressing. Wendy is the sheet's caressing Wendy bending gives a blessing. Holds me as I drift to dreamland Safe inside my slumber wear
Your comment about childhood innocence and the difficulty of putting words on child thoughts [Poem #1097] brought this beautiful poem to mind. I have a recording of Betjeman reading the poem. It is a gem. Here is this 70-year old getting inside the mind of a child in a way that is completely innocent. Given our modern paranoia about child abuse, I wonder if anyone other than Betjeman could get away with it. Frank NB: Just as I tried to send this, my email program pointed out that it might offend! Can you believe - even the machines are paranoid.