Invincible Summer |||

I am not sure what else there is

Alastair Howard Robertson

There I was, sitting on a park bench
talking as earnestly and finally to a girl
as if I were in love with her;

a sort of formal leave-taking
in a tiny park
perched above the river
while the freight-trains below
shunted in the noon-hour sun.

They were to alter the landscape there,
build on it, most likely have, by now;
it will undoubtedly improve it, but
the physical fabric of the past disintegrates,
and I am not sure what else there is.

The houses I have been happy in,
old, small, comfortable, curious
dilapidated places, have
mostly been demolished; others,
cold, featureless substantial stone
Victorian terraced rooming houses
endured a month or two, are still standing.

I am not nostalgic, only obscurely
disturbed; I am not sure
what else there is, except
a sort of formal leave-taking;
I was coming here, and she going
to work in Marks and Spencer’s in Newcastle.
There was the warm, serious talking of friends,
and nothing else: I have not seen her 
since, nor heard of her, nor the place,
which is, probably, altered.