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Sunday 30 December 2012

Change and Decay

It might have been the same bench -- only, no,
surely not the one we sat on years ago...
if so, it's weathered well... the rest has not...
the spot where Jake and I played rounders -- gone.
I see us clearly, though: padlocking our bikes...
is that the tree we chained them to whilst we --
heroes in our own conceit -- made for the beach?
We trusted precious life and limb down concrete steps.
Precarious and steep. Wind-blown. A hundred plus.
And then as if that was too little, leaned far  out across 
the rail into the void, to photograph the strata in 
the rocks. We hardly saw a soul the whole way down.

I've called the halt to let my eyes adjust, to let
the brain catch up, adjust to all that's alien here.
Jake and I lost touch a lifetime -- going on -- ago.
Married now -- a girl and boy who think this place is grand.
But even so, I can't help wondering what Jake would make
of it if he were here... the hurdy-gurdies, gaudy signs,
the loud amusements everywhere. Where once
the steps, two cable cars -- Come on mum, Dad, we're
going down on them. Come on! Wow, great! Come
ON!-- But Jake and I would never find the strata now.
They're hid away behind the cafes, gift shops and 
fast foods. Blocked off by this NEW VIEW VIRT--UAL
EXPERIENCE IN COLOUFUL 3-D. But as I look, I see
the two of us, the beach games and the surfing that
we did, the cycling and the climbing on the cliffs.
And what I see before me fades to insignificance beside 
the changes that I feel -- the frailties of flesh, the 
changes taking place in me: things  I did and can 
no longer do: the cataracts for two, the loss 
of puff and legs that will not go as far or fast as then.
Written for the prompt Change and Turns by Claudia in Poetics at dVerse Poets Pub


Claudia said...

what a lovely childhood memory...and the wistfulness...the change outward and inwardly...sometimes gives us a hard time.. i clearly saw the two of you by the beach there..wonderfully written dave

Grace said...

Thank you for sharing your childhood memories with your friend. These virtual experiences will not replace those happier and carefree times.

Wishing you Happy New Year ~

Anonymous said...

Agree with Claudia - though somehow I'd rather have my strata covered with wrinkles and sore joints than hurdy gurdies and virtual views (except I spend all too much virtual time) -

This has a very lovely pacing and objectivity to it. You manage to work in a great deal of detail while keeping a step=by-step kind of approach which somehow corresponds to a memory unfolding and works super well. The poignancy is readily shared. k.

PS _ nice to see you back!

pps - sorry about the cataracts! They work very well with the straits somehow but still sorry about them. k.

Brian Miller said...

i have felt like you in the early part of this...going back home and finding all the familiar places changed or gone, except the memories...and stoplights, where did all the stoplights come from in my hometown...smiles...

Kathy Reed said...

...at our age we think a lot about these memories..changes are happening to us that are not only visible and acute or chronic, but sweeter and better like the wine and cheese..thanks for sharing..and Happy New Year..

Laurie Kolp said...

I enjoyed walking down memory lane with you, Dave... Happy New Year!

Mary said...

Dave, I enjoyed your nostalgia here; and it made me sad for all those times that live now only in one's memories. So glad you are writing them down.

Your poem brought to mind an artist named Charles Peterson. He does watercolors which are 'memory prints.' He paints a scene as it is 'today' but there within the painting are images of the scene as it used to be in his memory. I have a friend who has several of his prints; and she got me interested in them. I own a signed numbered lithograph of his "The Garden Party." You can find that and other of his works here:

http://country-art.com/charles_l_peterson/charles_l_peterson_prints.htm#First Love

I will return sometime to see what you think. I find his work amazing....

The Weaver of Grass said...

I can elate to this Dave - it is the story of all our lives as we get older. Have you ever tried to find your friend?
Happy New Year to You.

A Cuban In London said...

Beautiful memento as usual. Many thanks for the e-card. I loved the clocks. I'm a big fan of old clocks, so your card's made my day! :-) Hope you're having a nice relaxing time with your family.

Greetings from London.

kelvin s.m. said...

..a very affecting read Sir... i may not totally understand the feeling today..i know soon i will be facing the same stage of yours... sad it may seem but changes like these must all happen... excellent offering.. thank you... happy new year.. smiles..

Carl said...

Dave - I so much prefer the version from your youth. I wish we would slow down before we lose all the beauty and wonder and put up a strip mall and a Starbucks coffee in its place.

Anonymous said...

This is just an exquisite piece of writing, Dave. Transporting and heartfelt. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is just an exquisite piece of writing, Dave. Transporting and heartfelt. Thank you.

Dick said...

The wistfulness of the young when related such memoirs convinces me that many things of inestimable value have passed and only have substance in our recollection of them now. This has triggered so many parallel experiences, Dave!

Tabor said...

So much changes so often in America that I do not always find the spaces that trigger memories. That is sad for me.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

What a beautiful retrospective piece! Have a Happy New Year Dave!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful piece about change, a place, a time that brings back memories. It may have all changed but your memory will always be with you and that is magic.
I thoroughly enjoyed your story.

Other Mary said...

Getting old is not for sissies, my dad used to say. But then, I guess it beats the alternative. All the best to you in 2013 Dave. Cheers.

Cloudia said...

'Trusted precious life and limb...' Funny, I have a similar memory of running heedlesly down a snowy stone hill...the changes we feel' the premonitions of mortality... The true wonders we enjoyed, buried 'neith virtual illusions...thank for riding bikes with me again...Aloha

Elephant's Child said...

I loved this. Echoes from here. Things that not only can my body no longer do, but 'progress' has rendered them impossible anyway. A sadness I believe.
Thank you for a lovely nostalgic post about the glories (and they were) of yesteryear.

Dave King said...

Thank you so much, all of you. I am overwhelmed by your kind remarks and observations, but now I am off to indulge myself again. I shall try to answer your responses individually -- but please, do not hold your breaths, they are too precious! Thanks again.

Ygraine said...

Such a wonderfully poignant childhood memory!
I could clearly see you there on the beach with your friend in those carefree, distant days.
Makes me really long to return to my own childhood. Things just seemed so much simpler then...and so happy.
Or is that only in retrospect?
Either way, I so enjoyed reading this, Dave. Thank you so much for sharing your memories :)

Dave King said...

Thank you for your thoughts on this. As always, they are both welcome and useful.
Have a great 2013 with much happiness.