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August Evenings

by John Stocks

The ruins were ancient, medieval,
long deserted by monks and melancholy bards.

Always the scent of ramsons
beyond the reedy bays and marshes,
‘Stinking Nannies’, squelching garlic underfoot,
then the Quarry lake
all curdled; slakes of lime,
two-headed fishes
half-gutted by a fox.

We had play fights with girls in narrow streams
pushing with our conjoined hands;
the demon playground sexed our dreams
and made us long for something urgent, primitive
moist and bittersweet, and still
tantalisingly out of reach.

Years later I would stroll this way
to linger until darkness fell
and the old scents returned,
exhuming love’s archaeology.

Copyright © 2010 by John Stocks

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