I could close the book now . . .
I could close the book now,
but little hands hold tightly to the pages,
fair hair falls forward, grey-blue eyes
pore over the pictures, and nestling
closely into Dad she listens, wanting
to know what happened to the rabbit.
Soon the reassurance of the good-night kiss,
and tucking up. Then, the dimming of the light
and, please Dad, leave the door half open.
I could fold the map now,
but on this windswept stile two teenage boots
fidget impatiently while we decide
which route will be the most rewarding.
Bending the brambles back we take a path
that will avoid, I hope, cliffs that need not
be climbed and caves no one need enter.
We notice flowers, rocks and views.
And by the way, Dad, are there any more biscuits?
I could close the album now,
but at my side she sits, deep in
comparisons and reminiscences
of this one at that age, how that one’s altered,
of places, people, houses, holidays:-
the smiles are all preserved, the sun shone,
and the rest was censored. So we go on:
another mile, another photograph, another story.
In the twilight
I came home on a winter’s evening
and saw in the golden light,
between the sprays of myrtle
and dark-green fingers of Choisya
which half hid the window,
my son seated at the table
my two daughters and my wife.
Behind them, the piano,
above, the silvery lamp,
before them, food and fellowship,
faces innocent and bright,
and I so admired the picture
that I ran in, thinking,
I want to be part of that scene,
that special circle, as if
I had never been there before.
But it was just as usual.
A few laughs, a few smiles
a few bickerings and arguments.
Take your elbows off the table.
Tales of the classroom.
Someone she met in town.
Stories told to distract small people
as the last few mouthfuls were spooned in.
And I quite forgot the picture:
it didn’t seem special after all.
Roger Turner’s poems have appeared in four volumes: The Summer Palace, Six Partitas, An Italian Notebook and Landscape with Flowers, and eighty of his poems have been published in magazines from Cadenza to Weyfarers. He is an architect, a garden designer, the author of five books on garden history, garden design and plants, and gives talks to local societies on related subjects. In his spare time he gardens, plays the piano and takes photographs. Roger is a former Chairman of Cheltenham Poetry Society.