A time to stop counting

i.m. Nigel Fox – 1956 – 1969

There he is, running –
chipped red Dinky toy fast
in palm – he’s spinning, giddy
in carousel sunshine, freckling
him over in shadows of linden.

Resounding a toll on this avenue of flints –
he’s running, yet gliding, silent on thermals,
absorbed in a kind of childhood nirvana,
he’s passing the caution ‘Beware of Adders’
where a chestnut colt snorts in its paddock –
springs like a clay pigeon fleeing its trap.

Between the archives of home and school –
safe now preserved in curtailed youth
is the certainty of sticklebacks rushing the weir,
or wind brushing oceans of green barley feathers.

Memory: rings laid deep at the linden’s heart,
a potential of fire in the dark core of flint –
it’s turning to view the path once travelled,
hand shielding sight in benign setting rays
and knowing what’s causing gangling colts
to bolt from the gate for apparently nothing.

© Caroline Fox Betts 2010

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