The tail end of summer always makes me slightly nostalgic.
Every time I see blackberries growing in the hedgerow, I remember that one of the few good things about going back to school after the long summer holidays was knowing that we would go blackberrying the next weekend. I don’t have any poems about blackberries, but I do have a poem about childhood. The fact that I think it was written last century makes me feel very old now.
Whispering secrets into an empty cocoa tin,
string, taut, measuring the distance between us;
I was squaw to your brave,
target for your cap-gunned cop and cowboy.
We caught butterflies on the buddleia –
peacocks, tortoiseshells, red admirals –
and netted minnows (I caught mostly weed)
down in the brown brook in the park.
Jumpers for wicket, you taught me
to hold the bat and strike out firm and strong.
Staunchly, I held back the tears:
the leather ball struck hard.
Tins and pistols rusted into silence long ago;
nets rotted, bamboo handles split.
The butterflies have flown away;
their colours paint my dreams.