Once upon a time, fifty eight years ago,
I got a bus I did not normally get.
It took me down a street where I had not been
since I was a child. I passed the house –
English farmhouse-style, four-square, low roofed,
the small orchard intact – where we live now.
I noted then how out of place it seemed
in a street of petit-bourgeois villas,
Victorian and Edwardian.
I thought of Tennyson on the Isle of Wight,
after the publication of ‘The Charge…’.
The lane outside his house became so filled
with fans, who had taken the ferry
across the Solent, that he had built
wooden steps and a walkway above the lane,
so that he could go unmolested
each morning into the beech woods, and return
his signature hat in the crook of his arm
brimming with wild mushrooms.