oranges and lemons

        oranges and lemons

‘oranges and lemons
say the bells of st clements,
oranges and lemons
say the bells of st clements
oranges and lemons…‘*
a low sung afternoon
i learnt that round
on that concrete driveway
now in rain a stone’s
quick throw from the sea
we held each other’s
hands as someone stood in
the middle between
our linked arms we swung
up and over them and
the bells rang in
our voices and
we never grew old
and we grew old
and we never forgot
and we forgot
and we were bright
and hard to catch as
sun in rain and were
dark in the going down
of the tide and on
the full and we
smelt the oranges
and lemons on
each other
and that
was
true.

30 august 2014
bucklands beach, picton st, nelson st, howick

*From the children’s sung rhyme, one version which is (approximating to the one I remember) as follows:

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle
to light you to bed,

And here comes a chopper
to chop off your head

 

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