Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Lavender Path


You may 'remember an inn, Miranda'
I remember a Lavender Path.

Grandma lived only a short distance away.
We could walk there.
But the journey was an adventure.
Excitement was my companion.
'We're going to Grandma's!' I would chant
As I skipped along by my mother.
Our house was just a house;
Grandma's was a place of magic.

First, the gate.
But not just a gate!
A leafy archway
Which made our entry
We 'entered'.
We didn't 'go in.'

Then, the path!
Shiny and orange.
Terra cotta I'd call it now.
Then it was 'orange'.
And gleaming.
And orderly, with its neat tiles.
And so very, very long!
(I experienced 'The Yellow Brick Road'
Long before 'Oz')

It led up to an elegant doorway!
And we passed between banks of lavender!
The purple spikes massed on either side,
Their perfume intoxicated me.
I still smell them.

There were other delights.
An orchard
Filled with Cox's Orange Pippins.
You who have never smelt a 'Cox's'
Or bitten into its wrinkled skin,
Haven't lived!

There was an apple loft,
Where Grandpa stored 
His bounty.
One climbed wooden steps to reach the loft,
And there was a platform at the top.
From there one could look over
The apple trees
And see the trains!
Oh bliss!
To stand there,
So high,
So royal,
Watching one's thundering beasts go by!

There was also a shed.
It was tumble-down, even then.
It was musty with age.
And there were other ancient smells
From plant-pots
Old newspapers in stacks,
Yes, definitely hessian.
I wonder why.
We were allowed to eat Cox's windfalls.
So, yes,
There was that gloriously appley smell too.
Plus the smell of the forbidden raspberries.

And, most magical of all, 
There was a greenhouse
With Grapes!
Grapes were foreign things.
These were small and sour.
But there they hung,
Gloriously plump exotica
In Grandpa's greenhouse!

After tea, we walked home again,
Past the lavender.
And I stole a few heads
To rub between my fingers as I walked.
Making the magic last.
My 'Christmas Trees are small' now
As the song says.
I have returned as an old lady.
I see an unremarkable suburban house,
Not very well planned.
I see a small garden 
With one or two trees.
I hear the irritating sound
Of passing trains.
I see a narrow path
Which, if I take a few steps,
Leads me to an everyday door.

And the lavender has gone.


Annie said...

Ian't it funny when we revisit places from our childhood how different they are? My sister and I used to think how far we had to walk to school each day, and when I went back and measured it, it was less than a kilometre!!!


ps Thanks for your visit to my O post!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful piece of writing, RR, and a lovely illustration.


mrsnesbitt said...

I love the rhythm of do you remember Miranda! I loved reading it out aloud to my pupils, but I always ended up laughing, infact we all did. Great fun though to see the children laughing and enjoying the moment!

Kat said...

Had to read the poem Tarantela, to understand the rhythm and direction in your poem. Well captured, the nostalgic moments.... like the Titanic heroine :))))