There’s a poem called ’In a Young Time’ by Gerard Benson that I particularly like. It was published as part of ’Poems on the Underground’, by ’Transport for London’ to inspire the passengers:
“In a Young Time there was skipping and sunlight
and the world was acres and there was plunder,
Girls were long bare-legged and beautiful
Brown and bramble-scratched and shy.
A walk was a climb over hedges,
fences and stiles, a run through knee-wet grass,
a hurtling downwards falling on hills.
Stones gripped in berry-stained fingers were released, and flew spinning in huge arcs
over shimmering lakes, or brown-patched fields,
aimed at nothing but distance. And the houses
seemed far off, not ours, the calm grey homes
of tranquil and slow-moving people. Only a window
would catch sunlight and flame into sudden gold.”
The poem accords with how I feel, not just about long ago but now ’skipping and sunlight and windows flaming into sudden gold.’
But dear Reader, things are not always in ’sudden gold.’ Like yesterday. A neighbour called in to ask: “Do you know anything about the box tree moth?” No, I didn’t. “My bushes and trees are literally being devoured,” she said passionately. “The caterpillars eat up all the leaves and the bush dies. I already have a skeleton hedge all round my garden.” I made her a cup of tea in commiseration, and she left.
Instead of going outside to see if the caterpillars were busily eating all my leaves, I turned the TV, to cheer myself up. But, guess what, it was all about the European devastation caused by the same box tree moth, its life and habits! Oh well......! Que hi farem!