Treasure Island

John Rickell

(I November 1931 / York)

Ellesmere Canal Festival


We had no plans except to meet,
a long time since the last,
caught up the news before we left
then fifteen miles and pretty flags
beside the canal in Ellesmere.

A festival of boats and brass
plant pots, garish paint and dogs
upon the prow, dodging folding chairs
ropes and rings on tow path gravel.
stalls, organic jams and cakes
smells and thumping diesels;
shapely blouses, rainbows in the sun,
floppy hats, men, white legs,
plastic wind mills, candy floss;
perhaps the last of summer cotton.

Cross the bridge, horse shoe scratches,
a retriever caked in mud
its lead about my legs, owner in despair,
none fell in that day but it was close!
and if we had few would care
its only four feet deep.

Through the meadow by the cut
to find a quiet lane
memories of childhood springs
the glistening mere beyond the hill
white steam launch from a railway brochure,
seagulls, ducks incontinent geese!
Coffee, cream and Bakewell tart.
The rebuilt cafe, closed two anxious years,
no cosy drapes no feathers on the walls
no scratches on the table, the salt and pepper match

Submitted: Sunday, January 19, 2014

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