A Walk in the Park by Kate Lock

The blue tits lured me
Further than I meant to walk
Following their dipping flight
And gossipy twitter
Through the spindly branches in the park.
Amid the wails of babes
And exhortations of tennis-court mums,
The whimpering of pups
And the roar of the park-keeper’s ride-on mower,
Beyond the clatter of kids on scooters,
The raucous crows
And squealing girls on swings,
A voice spoke. It said:
Here I put on a play about Alice.
Here I organised a regatta of junk boats made from egg boxes.
Here I planted trees, and here, bulbs.
Here I made a maze of children’s footprints.
Here I painted a wall with blue butterflies
And goggle-eyed frogs.
Here I hunted minibeasts and
Wanged wellies and
Held a May Day dance with
Morris dancers
And hid fairies in blossom-laden boughs for children to find.
Here I played the trombone in a booming brass band
And here was where we had
Bat hunting and fire juggling –
Yes, fire juggling! –
On one marvellous hot August night.
Here there was
Samba drumming,
Den-building and
A cello, playing
Peter and the Wolf
In the breezy pavilion.
Here is the path and the bridge
And the pond we put in,
And the mosaic map we all helped to create
Of the park we love.
Here is the Green Flag
Still earned annually
That we helped to hoist,
And the chessboard horse
We helped commission
When there was money.
And even if the pavilion with its
Painted bugs and bright handprints
Has been drowned too many times to save
And the bowlers have all gone
And the beech hedge is shabby
The children still skip and skate
And the blue tits bob
And there is cappuccino and a little library now and the cakes
Are homemade.
The geese still honk and crap too
But I found a snake’s head fritillary on this unexpected morning
Hiding its chequered head in the wild wood.
And I remember when we planted those rare flowers.
So it’s all good.


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