Monday, 9 August 2010

The Poetry Bus.

Well, sadly, I am not waiting in advance at the Bus Stop this week. I have had visitors all weekend and have been very busy. I thought I was not going to post anything at all. And then, just a few minutes ago, I had a vivid memory from childhood - sparked off by something the farmer said about wild plums in one of our fields. So - this is not a poem - it is a memory dashed off the top of my head - but I hope it brings a smile to your faces.

I'll set the scene. As a small child I lived out on the edge of the Lincolnshire fens, and we rarely went further than Lincoln, or occasionally through on the train the thirty or so miles to the Lincolnshire Coast. I had a very happy country childhood but experiences of the wider world were not there.
When I was quite young I made friends with a girl from Lincoln, called Anne. Her father worked managing a Betting Office for someone who lived in Cambridgeshire - close to Newmarket. They went to Newmarket on holiday and took me with them. We stayed in a pub called The Carpenter's Arms and one day we went to see the man who owned the Betting Shop. He lived at a Manor House and you can imagine my eyes were very wide - silver, cream cakes, a maid, a big car - all those things come to mind.
But the thing I remember most was that in the walled garden there was a big mulberry tree - and that is the memory I want to share with you.

We danced
under the mulberry tree,
our bare feet squashing
the too-ripe berries.

We lay
under the mulberry tree,
our lips wet and purple,
our faces stained.

In Winter
the washed-out stains
on my cotton knickers
revived the memory.

Have a good day - the sun is shining here and the washing is flapping on the line.

19 comments:

Elisabeth said...

I met my first mulberry tree in Italy last year, Weaver. I plucked fruit as you did as a child. I know now about those purple fingers.
We made a mulberry pie. Wonderful to eat.

Wonderful to remember and your story here evocative of such joys. Thanks.

MorningAJ said...

I went bramble picking this weekend and also found some lovely crab apples. Our wild plums aren't ready yet - but give them a week or so and I'll be making jam!

Gerry Snape said...

Lovely thoughts Weaver...My grandchildren have all been together this week and picked the worchester berries, so lots of stained clothes and hopefully lots of memories to hold for the future.

Bonnie said...

Those are special memories Pat. How wonderful that our mind preserves these memories in such pristine form - they are so precious.

Heather said...

This is lovely Pat - isn't it strange what tiny details we recall from long ago. I'm not sure I've ever seen a mulberry tree but they always sound rather special.

steven said...

weaver it's funny how our memories of "rich" people stay with us from childhood. the poem is rich in its own beautiful way! steven

Phillips said...

This is the best ever poem. Just my type of poem. Great observation of life. Thank you.

Gwei Mui said...

Oh great piece - wonderfully drawn memories. Beautiful

Argent said...

A delicious memory indeed! I like how you captured it in so few words.

Jessica Maybury said...

I really liked that :) my mouth tastes bitter now!

Karen said...

I love both the poem and the backstory, Weaver, and am reminded how very far apart and close together we are in this blogging world. I grew up in a small hollow in West Virginia, never going much farther than the head of the creek. My mother was a nurse, and once, all of the nurses' children were invited to the "manor" of the hospital director. I felt the same fascination as you. And we gorged ourselves on cherries.

Erratic Thoughts said...

:D Tasty berries...
You know I used get bashing when my mom used to catch me with purple lips and I never understood how she would come to know I had been up a mulberry tree!!
She was very scared of me climbing trees...because I used to fall frequently and I used to come with bruised knees :D

Very sweet and nice poem:)

Dave King said...

Oh, that is absolutely delightful. It all crystalises round that last verse. Beautiful!

Derrick said...

And I hope those stains have finally come out, Weaver?!

Leilani Lee said...

Lovely. We just finished mulberry season here with squashed purple berries everywhere-- and there are wild plums on the tree by the barn. Loved hearing of your memory and your poem.

maggi said...

Wonderful memory.

izzy said...

I often wonder if the tree in my Mother-in-laws yard was a mulberry! never ever
have tasted better fruit ! Thanks for a lovely vision!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the comments - glad you could share the memory.

Jeanne Iris said...

Oh, I love this, Weaver! Your introduction is as fascinating as your poem is lovely. In a few lines, you've created a precious memory for all of us to share. Thank you.

Growing up in a suburb of Detroit, our visits to the Pennsylvania countryside were just as intriguing, a living example of the children's story about the Country Mouse and the City Mouse. However, we did have similar fruitful experiences but with red raspberries. ; )