Not Yet Four
The last in my week of poetry, this seemed appropriate as we begin November: a reflection on dark evenings, written at University.
Not yet four,
And the grey steals through
The crack in my window
To tempt the light out of the dim-dressed room.
I could quite happily
Be sitting before a fire
Toasting mittened hands, pretending I’d done a full day’s work.
Say five o’ clock -
Transport me back to ’95
And tell me happy tales
Of Pooh, Piglet and their flood of water over tea and crumpets.
A clock strikes six,
And speaking of water
I can see the lamplight
Echo in the pools they used to call paths in the garden,
When chimes six-thirty
And into the soggy darkness
Troop reluctant students,
Traipsing, squelching, sloshing, scurrying to hall.
By seven o’ clock
The day’s ghost has more
Than two hours to its name.
General hibernation of man, bird and beast ensues,
While eight o’ clock
Brings yet more rain
To chill the darkness,
Soggy shoes and wet whose heads would venture out
Past nine at night,
When things used to begin -
We all now hide inside
Trying what will beguile the long night hours.
I’ll fight it out,
And I’ll be Jo
Eating apples in the garret
And crying over a novel while I write it;
I’ll be Pooh-bear,
Floating an up-turned umbrella
Up and down the swollen Cherwell;
I’ll be Peter Pan,
Inventing in my head great feasts
And rescuing Tiger-Lily from her stranded rock;
I’ll make a play,
And as my childhood self spend hours
Hauling costumes from a box under the bed.
I’ll just be me,
And complain in ‘whining poesie’ –
For reasons best-known to myself,
I’m trying to avoid the night, you see.