i yearn to return to herne

to be carried by stork

in a swaddle of flannel

across the english channel

over dover’s hills of chalk

to the small village in kent

where i was sent

to spend/misspend

the beginning and end

of my schooldays and fend

for myself all summer

against my brothers

and others

who may or may not now be dead

but who cares?

i can smell the smoky fields of stubble

still feel the pulse of the fence

and the depth of the puddles

and the knowing glare of the farmers concern

as i uproot his beetroot

and leave his best bull upturned

and zig zag run from his gun

into the arms of the sun

and get back home just in time

for schweppes and lime and to

watch nasties of a video kind

that may or may not have damaged

my prepubescent mind

because there’s nothing like a little “elm street”

when you’re two weeks from thirteen

but, first things first, i need

a stork of some worth

that can handle my girth

and won’t ditch me in the brine

the moment it sees that i’m thirty nine

and seventeen stone

and bereft of a diaper (sometimes)

no longer a toddler

in fact, i’m a writer (sometimes)

for tatler and country life

and that other one

with a goose on the cover

you know, “goose weekly” or some other

yet i digress

my concerns with the reliability of birds

are dwarfed when compared

to the fact i’ve just heard

that herne is no more

the village, it seems was

razed to the land

when a terrorist attack on the WI

knocked over

a victoria sponge

and four jars of jam

it’s so sad, so needless

to think that all of

my memories of those long summer evenings

and the ducks on the lake

have been replaced

with boiled raspberry seedless and

a charred slice of cake