Saturday, October 2, 2010

By Design?



When designers sit down at their draft-boards
Designing some humdrum affair
Like the bus-shelters seen in my picture,
(So common they're seen everywhere)
Do they ever consider the shadows
That are thrown on the ground by the light,
Saying ' Let's run this through the computer
To see if the shadows are right.'
Are the beautiful curves on the pavement,
Which rarely get one second glance,
The result of some clever designing
Or something that happens by chance?



I walked home from school;
Not wounded, not bereaved,
Just a drab English schoolgirl.
Five years of war
Had meant no clothing coupons for
And I was certainly frivolous.
I was fourteen.
My mother had lengthened
My older sister's dark green dress,
With strips
Of different colours at the hem,
As I grew.
I had been wearing it 'for best'
For three years now.
Otherwise I wore my navy-blue serge skirt,
White shirt and lisle stockings;
My school uniform.
Was it any wonder I dragged my satchel
Behind me
As I entered the house?
And then I stopped......
Where are you now, Elaine?
You must be an old lady,
Like me.
I wonder if you even remember sending
The Food Parcel.
You were on the other side of the world
In America.
It seemed a place of magic
Untouched by War.
You were, briefly,
My Pen Pal.
And you had sent me a dress!
Never again in my whole life
Would I see mauve gingham
Without reliving
The frisson of excitement
That I felt when I first saw it.
My Mother had opened the Food Parcel
And she had found the dress
Carefully packed
On top of the biscuits and canned fruit.
She had laid it over the back of the arm-chair.
I circled it,
I think I stopped breathing.
Was it......?
Could it........?
Immediately, I fantasised
If this glorious object were really mine,
I would wear it with sky-blue sandals,
And my skinny white legs would tan.
And boys would look at me
And realise that I was beautiful!
My mother came into the room.
'Is it for…..?' I said.
It was!
It was mauve gingham,
With a frilled square neck-line,
And a skirt that flared slightly.
It was the most beautiful dress in the world.
Sixty-five years later
I say
'Thank you, Elaine.'


Darlene said...

I guess we never know how a kind deed can be magical. I am happy that Elaine made another girl so happy.

Unknown said...

Your bus shelters certainly beat most others I've seen even if they are everywhere. For one thing, in spite of being white they look rather clean, which is always a bonus!

Unknown said...

I love the bus shelters, the shadows are so crisp and clear.

Marilyn & Jeff said...

wonderful shadow photo and i love your words to go with it - and now you have me wondering, do the designers sit down and plan the shape for the shadow it will cast?
Loved your words about the gift of the dress too.

Lighthousegal said...

Your bus shelters are definitely better looking than the ones around here. They make beautiful shadows too. Thanks for sharing them and for your rhyming words as well, I enjoyed reading your post!!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

The shadows would have no romance
If they happened merely by chance;

So I think it seems safe to say
The designers have had their way!

SSS: Candy Bag

Beverley Baird said...

What an interesting shadow!
Great poetry asusual! You are so productive!