We’re out to let me wander in the past.
I came here camping as a child, believing
it adventurous to try my luck
at roughing it. On cold uncomfy nights
I shivered as I thought I caught the chill
of ragged ghosts who’d trudged this way to fight
at Tewkesbury and leave their smell to hang
alongside banners stale with spilled ambition.
Our reconstruction of the walk from Evesham,
in the car, seemed less an exploration
than I might have hoped. And now I’m here
I cannot recognize the site or find
the place in me so easily enchanted.
Not quite true. Whatever I pretend with
campfire quips, it’s yet to be established
just how hard I really want to search,
being conscious that our company includes
a fourteen-year-old self in shorts. Embarrassed,
he’s riding in the back with nothing much
to say – or nothing he has confidence
in offering as tentative improvement
on silence from the stranger who is driving
and doesn’t care to stop and let him out
to saunter in the sunshine on his own.
(first published in Inklings of Complicity , Pikestaff Press, 2003)
Michael Bartholomew-Biggs is a semi-retired mathematician and still-active poet. His latest collection Fred & Blossom (Shoestring, 2013) is an aeronautical romance set in the 1930s. He is poetry editor of the on-line magazine London Grip and also a co-organiser of the Islington reading series Poetry in the Crypt. More poems at poetry p f