Treasure Island

Ernestine Northover

(25th March 1943)

A Child Again


I'm a child again,
as memories come flooding back.
Here I am standing outside my old school
which is due to be demolished for something more modern.

Nobody's about, all is silence, except for the birds
chattering away in the same old Elm tree
which still stands against the side of the bicycle shed.

Such a strange feeling, something I can't describe.

I lift the latch on the gate, and walk through
into the playground, and pause awhile.

Voices seem to echo in the air around me.

Ah! Sarah, the noisy one with the ginger hair, into every scrape,
always a whirlwind. Unstoppable was Sarah.

Robert the shy, reserved one. Never mixed much, a bit of a loner really.
I heard somewhere, that he'd become a lawyer or something.

And, Yes. Jenny. Who could forget Jenny.
Jenny McKenny, who was clever at everything,
always laughing, always smiling, always your friend.

I wonder where they are now.
All have gone forever.
A terrible loneliness is creeping over me.

Why did I come. To refresh my memories, perhaps,
some bad, some good.

So long ago now, that they all feel good to me,
tinged with a sadness in my heart for what has been.

I'm reliving those memories of when I was a child,
with the hopes and thoughts of a child.

Moving towards the gate, unthinking as usual.
I'm forgetting to close it
like I used to do all those years ago.

I must turn around and close it now

And then there was our teacher, Mrs Saunders.

Oh My! What's this, a tear? .

© Ernestine Northover

Submitted: Sunday, June 18, 2006
Edited: Saturday, August 07, 2010

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  • Roseann Shawiak (10/16/2013 2:52:00 AM)

    Wonderful, heart felt poem. I wrote a similar poem, Once Upon A Playground, I understand the feelings you've expressed here, loneliness and the tear also. Remembering the past is always so bittersweet. Thank you for sharing. RoseAnn (Report) Reply

  • Kesav Easwaran (7/31/2008 10:05:00 PM)

    A lot of things, I liked in this poem

    First you stand out side your ‘school’…the place you started learning life… to be demolished soon? A good introspect here…then you lift the latch of the gate…your mind…there you hear the echo of your past ‘child hood’ days…your early actions in your life… the roles you played and you played with…the vastness of the playing ground adding beauty to the word echo…

    In the concluding lines you shut out your mind…comes out to face the realities in life once more…the ‘teacher’ there is the symbol of the disciplining controlling advising force…the Lord Himself…and a thanks giving tear…

    Great poem this…ten grade (Report) Reply

  • Paul Butters (4/12/2008 5:21:00 PM)

    My old primary school is long abandoned now. Talk of flats..... So tiny looking a place now! One of my old classmates lives in South Africa or somewhere now. Yes I get it. Tissues please.. Paul. (Report) Reply

  • Flora Gillingham (4/8/2008 7:49:00 AM)

    We have to go back, don't we, whether we want to or not? But there's always that slight emptiness - as if the past stil holds unfinished business.

    F (Report) Reply

  • Andrew Blakemore (2/22/2008 4:28:00 PM)

    I've been there too Ernestine. A few years ago they knocked down my first school and I got so emmotional. It was just like a piece of my life had been torn away. Thanks for sharing this great work. Andrew x (Report) Reply

  • Alison Cassidy (1/20/2008 7:08:00 PM)

    You paint it all so clearly Ernestine, with your easy command of the language - enhanced of course by the emotional wistfulness that is ever present. Isn't it fascinating how clear the images are of so long ago, and yet those of the recent past often seem blurred somehow. A nostalgic sombre read. love, Allie ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (Report) Reply

  • marvin brato (11/19/2007 10:04:00 PM)

    Golden memories such as our childhood is refreshing to recall, good or bad it still feels good to cherished. Thank you for sharing sir, highest marks. (Report) Reply

  • Cj Heck (9/17/2007 4:12:00 PM)

    Ernestine, this is a delightful poem - you always take me back through my own life with your poetry, writing with such a gentle heart. Thank you for yet another joyful memory.
    Love,
    CJ (Report) Reply

  • Linda Weischedel (8/16/2007 3:49:00 PM)

    This was very nice, it brought memories for me as well. I liked this poem a lot. It was very easy to read and understand. Thanks for me to be able to go back in time! Always, Linda (Report) Reply

  • Marci Made (6/28/2007 2:40:00 PM)

    You have a good memory and that is fortunate for memories can get us through hard times or difficult days...The innocence and joy of childhood, how the simple things satisfy.. As Ivor says, you can't go back in real time, but you can relive and enjoy through the grandbabies pure innocent big blue eyes....another Ernestine wonder.~~~~~~~~marci.xo (Report) Reply

  • Ivor Hogg (6/8/2007 1:34:00 PM)

    You can't go back yesterday is another country quite unreachable even your memories edited by the passing years are unreliable. Yet we persist in trying to reach the unreachable.
    You evoked some strong feelings M lady (Report) Reply

  • Marilyn Lott (5/31/2007 1:58:00 PM)

    So wonderfully put, Ernestine. I remember when my high school was torn down and I had those feelings. But you know, the memories will be kept alive in our hearts nestled in year books. I have a brick from that old school. I enjoyed your poem very much.
    Marilyn (Report) Reply

  • Not a member No 4 (5/11/2007 3:48:00 PM)

    You've depicted the closing of that symbolic gate and walking away from those deeply seated memories with great sensitivity and a sparing eloquence Ernestine. This was was a very moving and bittersweet read for me - as for all the older readers I'm sure. Thanks, jim xxx (Report) Reply

  • Melvina Germain (5/7/2007 9:59:00 AM)

    I have a tear in my eye now too Ernestine, this is a lovely memory of days gone by, I felt that I was there myself feeling the sadness of the loss of an old school soon to be demolished, I felt the sadness of the loss of happy school days, the loss of innocence, I felt the joy of looking into the face of an old teacher. This is a wonderful nostalgic poem. 'Thanks for the memories'-Melvina- (Report) Reply

  • Jim Foulk (12/21/2006 5:08:00 PM)

    Ernestine, that did take me back in time myself. of a day that was more laid back than what today kids are growing up in. it was a simple time, a peaceful time, and a woderful time, our child hood was to short, and memories are all we have left of them, very good poem, and well written, the decribtion of that school was very real, thank you for sharing that with us. (Report) Reply

  • Francesca Johnson (6/27/2006 3:10:00 PM)

    I was there with you, Ernestine. You've got the gift of being able to 'take' people with you on your jaunts down memory lane. Wonderfully written, full of emotion, putting pictures into my mind's eye. A little beauty, this poem.

    Love, Fran xx (Report) Reply

Read all 30 comments »

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