Editing poetry: The Occasional Child

I am pretty sure this is the only piece that is from before 2000 that I have considered putting here. I took it up and rewrote it in 2011. The ‘refrigerator buzz’ line I suppose comes from Radiohead’s Karma Police, although it really owes more to ‘Meeting People is Easy’

I regress
Back to my childhood
My bygone days
Crazy paving
Keep pace with the dreary pedestrian traffic
The refrigerator buzz chatter
Background noise
To my dream of what was then.

The dream of summers
Precarious tilt and drip of ice creams in the garden
Barefoot running – chlorophyll prickle
Sweet smell of freshly mown grass
Water fights in the romantic’s pastoral arena
Noisy laughter inflates and drifts like a
Beach football
Never a cloud in the sky

The life cycle pivots around this point
Cascade of orange from the lonely French oak
We wrapped up warm, danced in the rain
Such pleasure in simple beauty

We brace against it
Shiver as it probes the folds
Fur coats and wellies,
Crunch of fresh snow
We raced in so early
The neighbourhood held its frozen breath
it snowed every year back then
We would never catch colds
Crazy paving.

Then I drop back to reality
Some sullen pedestrian jostles me
The square paving slabs tilt and crash
Dripping grey concrete daubed across the city
Slums and cardboard houses
Rusting metal locked in
Frustrated traffic
iPhones and Blackberries trill their mating calls

Now barefoot the stones will hurt my feet
We must wrap ourselves up against the rain
The cold, the warm, the city
Scarves for the heart
Every year catch a cold
All the cracks in these square paving slabs
In summer we build nets to recapture those days
Knit together photographed memories
And silver braid
Worry and burn
Drive and yearn
Crazy paving
Our occasional childhood


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