Coatham Hall is where I come from.
Red ivy on the walls,
Where the trees were cut,
Hacked paths through the undergrowth
For a child's delight.
Following the Chinese advance to Pusan, the Gloucesters,
And McArthur's landing at Inchon
In the local newspaper, the Northern Echo.
The Coronation on next-door's primitive TV.
Queen Salote of Tonga waving smiling in the rain
To we children standing watching.
Eleven plus at the village school at Brafferton,
I needed special coaching from my Darlington prep school master
Failure was unthinkable.
My mother taught me my tables by rote
With an iron Scottish will,
Without a sign of any ability in me.
Except for the Reverend Piper, my Latin master,
Having me recite Cassius in the dialogue at Brutus' tent
For the prep school play. Typecasting for life.
Coatham Hall is where I come from
And was quiet as a dormouse so nobody knew I was there.
Douglas Clark, Bath, England mailto: [log in to unmask]
Lynx: Poetry from Bath .......... http://www.bath.ac.uk/~exxdgdc/lynx.html