MEMORIES OF ENGLAND
So, having tackled most of Churchill’s History,
Surfed the net for tickets and a book,
Hopped a jet and, spellbound by the mystery
Of dynasty and tomb, gulped with a look
The English weather with its burly clouds,
The Tower, Saint Paul’s, which swallowed us and shook,
And the overflowing Thames, bridged by crowds,
We’d had enough. Such a long list of dates,
Stamped like bills to pay, while here the dust shrouds
An unfriendly square where a bus-queue waits,
And there, scaffolding clatters up the skies,
And farther still, pressed under smoke-gray plates,
A yellow manuscript tilts at your eyes
With pencil lines that make you want to rub.
If any memories haunt us, they arise
From a stray evening wasted in a pub,
Away from where a million tourists massed:
Our pints had shallowed — the rush and hubbub
Lifted like fog — when England shone at last,
Engrained in the oak, like a root of good
That held the light and always would hold fast.
Or somehow we imagined that it would.