THE OUTING

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Each Armistice Day, she remembered it.
A walk along the riverbank. Her teacher took them –
one Saturday when the hawthorn was out
and the river slow after weeks of sun –
her and three of the other older girls.
Miss Davies’ young man came too –
in his uniform, on leave from the front.

When they all rested in the shade of a willow,
he unwrapped a large bar of chocolate
slowly, looking away, or pretending to,
across the river.  Suddenly he turned.
‘Voila!’, he said, holding it out to them.
‘Pour vous. From plucky little Belgium.’

Miss Davies and her young man went and sat
at the river’s edge, their heads almost touching.
Two of her friends began whispering – another
pursed her lips and kissed the air. The others giggled.
She lay back – and squinted at the sun through the branches.
‘Look’, said one of the girls. The soldier was pretending
to dip the toe of his boot in the water.
Miss Davies laughed.

On the way back, ‘Listen’, he said, and they stopped.
On the dappled path, blocking their way,
a song thrush was striking a snail on a stone
again and again and again.

 

 

Note: this piece has been subsequently published in ‘A Jar of Sticklebacks’ – http://www.armadillocentral.com/general/a-jar-of-sticklebacks-by-david-selzer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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