As I breathe in the wild garlic woods I resurrect a memory. In bursts of fiery vision Both eyes and nostrils Recall the path Descending without haste From cornfield to woodland dell To fern and rill Beneath the high arches Of the viaduct Soft tread over the bracken-strewn turf Beside the bubbling beck To meet the waiting waves On that bleached beach Promising not only present joy But with purpose Though without foreknowledge Building a cornerstone Of my being Nature’s Marble Halls Erected to sustain life To ensure that richness of experience This continuity of pleasure Which brings meaning now When I had thought Only the memory remained
the beck my beck North England Old English bece Dutch beek German bach my beck my early life my once-upon-a-time world
it was all things to me my territory my front line against the outside world fell in fished out fished in fishes out tiddlers minnows sticklebacks countless times jumped it daily dammed it constructed waterfalls floods flooded floods receded dredged repaired renewed
succoured my imagination my Coliseum my Olympic stadium succeeding my umbilical chord as my link to the world it ran through my heart and past my house gave me a ballpark my own adventure playground complete with running water subterranean tunnels waterfalls dams stepping stones overhanging trees to climb to suspend myself dangling over the running water sandstone-walled bridges for carving initials routes to explore in both directions crossings to navigate ledges to crawl along overgrown banks forbidden sections Rubicon for gang warfare Lethe at dusk
above all suspending my belief in dreams for this was my reality
once upon a time
NOTE: North England. BECK … A brook, especially a swiftly running stream with steep banks.