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In The Small Hours: In Passing

John Brian Leaver contemplates the workings of time as, by chance, he passes the house where his parents once lived.

What fate led me by the hand to pass
where my parents first laid down their hopes?
Now plastic gleams; its door and quinque'd bay
in holy white, alas

This portal once in Connaught Green,
brass knocker, letterbox, and in between
a noble glass-pull in aquamarine;
lost and gone for ever. How obscene

In thermal heat of kites and cricket whites
the door would shade from view
behind its limpid summer blind
of a faded deckchair hue

A picket fence now pristine brick,
the gate not wood, but iron, wrought,
with pointy tops in watery gold;
what size the plasma screen, I thought

No privet to shield where roses climbed,
no Prince of Wales Feather in border posies
but blocks in shades of cream and green,
bird bath, dwarfs with red noses

Mother's wish was for a nice front room
not fishing rods, reels, snooker cue;
and always the smell of chrysanthemum
evokes that room, anew

Leaden winds presage wetted brick
that lifts my collar, a last look back with
some regret, yet, aware of the world's time-tick
where everything falls to centre.


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