The Pleasure Ground

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What was the draw that brought us here,

us four?

Well, for one, we were

rural-remote and chasm bored.

 

Our Xanadu –

a slope of woodland trees

embraced by hewn stone graves.

Above – a waning moon.

Below – the safety of our homes.

 

And fear.

There’s some fun in fear.

The church, the porch,

the walk back all alone.

 

Me and you,

(us round-the-corner friends)

were chattery and keen,

eager for life to begin

beyond the stretched out fields

that kept us in.

 

Half-starved of drama,

bone-thin,

we spun a thousand lurid tales

to wrap our girlish limbs up in.

 

So when, at Fountain Corner,

two brothers,  as in a fairy-tale,

appeared,

we shape-shifted them,

without delay

into the shadow boys we’d made.

 

One was our Heathcliff:

boarding school exotic

returning to his father’s house –

bored and apathetic.

 

And the other? What of him?

Mature beyond his years

and Lycra clad.

We sniggered at his nerdy ways

and how he joined in with our games.

We found this almost-man quite strange

but in our fickle teenage way,

we liked him all the same.

 

And so it feels wrong when,

thirty-odd years on,

sat at my writing desk,

I read that he is dead.

 

I quickly click your message closed.

 

And let the distant wind gust in:

bringing long lost Autumn leaves

and cold October teenage dreams

to chill my bones and flush my cheeks.

 

Our Xanadu –

no stately pleasure dome:

no sex, no drink, no cigarettes.

Just a strange and stretched out time,

where, on the dark horizon,

(from far beyond our mocking smiles)

we watched him watch his two suns rising.

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