(13/12/1947 / LONDON)

Not Sin On Sin 1961

Jane met me
by our back gate

I had just finished
helping my dad
cutting logs for the burner
and he had gone in
for a cup of tea

she stood there
leaning on the gate
dressed in a green skirt
and white blouse

you've been busy
she said

yes cutting logs
I said

nice day
are you allowed out?
She said

sure
I said
where are we going?

Shall we walk up
the Downs
and maybe look
for flowers and bits
of sheep-wool
on the fence up there?

That'd be good
(just being with her
was good)
I said

so I told my mother
where we were going
and we set off
along the lane
it was a sunny day
and warm and birds
were singing
and some flew
above our heads

we walked up
the long drive
in between trees
to the Downs

what did you think
of the Downs when
you first moved here?
She asked me

out of this world
I said
I think we walked up here
the third day of arriving
and we found that
hollow tree
and went inside
I said

o yes that one
we went in the other month
she said

yes that's the one
I said
(I didn't tell her
I went in there
with Lizbeth)

I smelt apples
and hay about her
and a small dose
of her mother's perfume

she talked of her father
and him writing sermons
and how he gets his idea
from life about him
and of course the Bible

as she spoke
I studied her hair
dark and long
and her eyes
so brown and shining
and the nearness
of her hand
which I wanted to hold
but didn't want
to presume to hold
and maybe just a kiss
(we had kissed in the past)

she talked about her mother
and how her mother
likes things to be so so
and the baby they lost
years before

I let my hand brush
close to hers
skin near skin
being human
not sin on sin.

by Terry Collett

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