Eilean Arainn

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
A memory of a special place from childhood and the magic it gave those years. And wondering where or how I can help provide that feeling for my own daughter now.

Submitted: August 04, 2013

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Submitted: August 04, 2013

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I wonder if it’s still there -

The Mother Goose Tea Room.

She was painted on the side…

Not sure if I’d find her at all now.

__

Or the bar where we joined the big men

Just back from the golf;

Its stale tang of alcohol,

The scallop shell ashtrays and cigarette stained toilet seats.

The Tennants beer mats we peeled apart,

And smelled the bitter fog of insect spray

Hanging over wasp carcasses on the window sill.

__

Or the tiny shop

That sold me lick-on Batman transfers for my arms.

The old dears sitting on the wooden bench outside,

Their fawn skirts hitched to sun their legs,

Melting ice-cream from macaroon oysters

Running down their plump forearms.

As their vested men set aside their pipes

To blow on hot, fat chips in newspaper pokes.

__

Those afternoons, when the sun shone brighter

Than the gleaming fire engine on Open Day.

I chased a green Tonka bubble car

Down that lane behind Maisie’s cottage.

The raised bump on the promenade grass

Was where I learned to ride my bicycle without stabilisers.

And the beach, with its lime algae-covered stones,

Where we searched for slate to skim,

Crunching razor shells underfoot

And kicking limpets from ancient rocks.

The sunlight and the colour of the sea…

Unmistakably of that place.

__

The old wooden barrel that caught the rain,

And the trickling stream we drove over

Down the old pebbled path to Largybeg.

The snorting cows just behind the hedge,

The lonely little cottage down the winding stairs

In a cove I might’ve just dreamt up…

__  __  __  __

 

She had crawled to the bookcase,

And tugged at a book that fell open on her lap.

Photographs of an island, sun reaching through the cloud,

Casting up fragments of a time now rendered worn

By the waves of years that have passed over its memory.

__

I tell her, here was a place of magic for her father,

Many years ago.

__

And return the book to its resting place.

__

I pause. And finger the spine before letting go.

__

Maybe I place these words together

- as with the book, as with the dusty pebbles and shells

Still kept in a carved oak bowl upstairs -

With a hope of encasing what still remains there.

Like the glass cabinet of Matchbox motorcars

In the dark shop at the white painted Ship Inn,

Afraid its contents might be one day be lost.

__

But by preserving them, do I forget

The true worth of their tender safeguarding 

Isn’t found in the wallowing

Of self-interested sentimentality,

But instead, in their ability to remind me

Of what I need to make possible for another.

__

Have we built over the greenbelt around childhood

We promised we’d protect,

Condemning hidden treasure chests to forgotten graves

And clipping the wings of those longing and needing to fly.

I owe this to her. I owe her this, here,

Far away from golden days of summer showers,

To take her hand, to help her find her own world,

A sanctuary without clocks.

A place where she can cherish

The simple freedom that can be found

When the sun kisses the face of a child.

 


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