By David Berman.
Coming up England by a different line
For once, early in the cold new year,
We stopped, and, watching men with number plates
Sprint down the platform to familiar gates,
‘Why, Coventry!’ I exclaimed.
‘I was born here. ‘
I leant far out, and squinnied for a sign
That this was still the town that had been ‘mine’
So long, but found I wasn’t even clear
Which side was which.
From where those cycle-crates
Were standing, had we annually departed
For all those family hols? . . .
A whistle went: Things moved.
I sat back, staring at my boots.
‘Was that,’ my friend smiled,
‘where you “have your roots”?’
No, only where my childhood was unspent,
I wanted to retort,
just where I started:
By now I’ve got the whole place clearly charted.
Our garden, first:
where I did not invent Blinding theologies of flowers and fruits,
And wasn’t spoken to by an old hat.
And here we have that splendid family I never ran to when I got depressed,
The boys all biceps and the girls all chest,
Their comic Ford,
their farm where I could be ‘Really myself’.
I’ll show you, come to that, The bracken where I never trembling sat,
Determined to go through with it;
where she Lay back, and ‘all became a burning mist’.
And, in those offices, my doggerel
Was not set up in blunt ten-point,
nor read By a distinguished cousin of the mayor,
Who didn’t call and tell my father There Before us, had we the gift to see ahead –
‘You look as though you wished the place in Hell,’
My friend said, ‘judging from your face. ‘
‘Oh well, I suppose it’s not the place’s fault,’ I said.
‘Nothing, like something, happens anywhere. ‘
Shared by Deepa