Such Perfect Days


I walked out from 2 Woodland View,

Marsh Lane, Leonard Stanley,

Next door to Mr. and Mts. Lusty,

Whose dark cottage walls were covered

With century-old paintings and pictures

(Unusual for modernist 1962);

This was nothing to do with ironic retro-chic,

Or a love of Victoriana,

These were the ways and means of an older generation:

Mr. Lusty had fought in the war - it’s true -

But that war was the Boer War,

It wasn’t even the First World War:

This was astonishing to my ten-year old mind,

I would peer in wonder through their open door:

I’d never seen walls covered with framed pictures before.

Old Mother Lusty was still more than sprightly,

She would walk with mum and gran and me

Along the footpaths, fields and meadows,

And so to bingo nights in Kings Stanley;

But on this perfect summer day,

I walked to Stonehouse early in the morning,

To catch the train to Gloucester

(1400 class pannier tank push and pull),

And so walk the bridge with its knotted holes,

Where I would once more peer,

But this time with one-eyed concentration,

And so cop the numbers of those exotic,

Strange looking Midland Region locomotives,

With those giant smoke deflectors at the front,

Unlike any GWR loco

Built at Swindon railway works:

This was like a holiday abroad.

I caught the train back to Stonehouse

(1400 class pannier tank push and pull),

Ready for the day’s next outing:

Buses to Stroud and Woodchester,

To view the mosaic at the villa,

Uncovered, then, every ten years;

I wandered around in wonder,

For my young world revolved around

Trains and football and history,

But this was the past made real,

Not those stern black and white pictures

From Arthur Mee’s encyclopedia,

But the colour filled mosaic of Orpheus,

There right before my ten-year old eyes.

In the evening, after the pub,

We had a family game of football:

Could any days be more perfect?

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