Memory Lane, Withington
By Trevor Barnett
Once upon a town there were just wythes here.
Local men would come to chop them down and up,
then picnic in the ancient shade of stray oaks,
and head home, a cartload of sticks and the sun behind them.
Next came the stir of roads and railways;
the four-in-hands still racing through like storms,
stopping awhile to refuel at the cattle trough,
the horses’ ears flicking sweat in the sun’s reflection.
The blitz. The only light was the screen at The Scala.
The crowds panicked in procession down the steps,
past the boy knocked off his bicycle by a bomb
and Toni, his ice cream tray round his neck, like a wreath.
Now here you are, the sun full on your face,
packing your whole life into a lorry.
The content of your memory I cannot give.
After all, it’s what you’re left without, and with.
Trevor Barnett is a poet who lives in Manchester.Stats: