Walkley History

News, events and discoveries of the Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars history project.

Donkey Woods, Bolehills, South Road, Saturn

Hes sitting on a pile of cardboard boxes,
flat cartons stacked in towers of different height,
in this old chapel warehouse. He declaims,
“Ive never read a book in all me life!

Ive come to buy the boxes hes recycling,
to pack some books I think I need to save.

But here
s the gravedigger from Hamlet, dangling
his legs
. He speaks as if from out the grave,

I tell a lie! One. Once. Not all t way through, though;
I did once read a book, on holiday.

But what
s tha saving books for? Does tha know?
waint read em again! Chuck em away!

Books, read and done with? Millstones round us necks!
s read em, ant tha? Leave em all behind.
But me, I
m thinking theyre a kind of annexe;
not merely things; extensions of the mind.

I think of Walkley Library, where I learned
to read;
Just William, A Hundred Things
A Boy Can Do, all borrowed, read, returned.
In our back yard I once saw Saturn
s Rings.

Theres truth, though, from within the box-mans skull.
We read, but our lives blazed in bright landscapes.

Fields, hills, and woods, beyond gravity
s pull;
books were the rocket fuel for boys

We lived-out stories, wrote them on the wind,
lost in the woods until the trees turned pink.

True stories of the body, heart and mind,

souls written in blood and blue-black ink.

Beyond the library, landcape falls away,
skies open; rain and sun, and blowing air
were ours in full, each weather-laden day.
Only we knew what we did, or where.

With my friend Robert, I climbed up the hill
from my near-death (a tree-rope swing that broke)

and met three bullies; boys out for the kill.

It didn
t worry them Id just near-choked.

Next day we climbed the bottle-sharded wall
to steal some curdled hen
s eggs from the convent,
for the nature table in the parqued hall.

Miss made us put them back, so back we went.

Theft, double trespass, sin compounded sin.
She made us go there twice; a second thrill.
The souls of boys, the curdled state they
re in,
unbroke, those curdled nun
s eggs lie there still.

We shuffled home with dog-shit on our shoes;
with bruises, cuts and muddy, matted hair.
As sky, and souls of boys turned ink black-blue,
my library books wait on the big blue chair.

The cardboard box man knows the hoarders strife,
he sells me boxes, but his counsels free.
Thaart boxed in wi thi books! Just  live thi life!
Eres thi boxes. Nah then, wheers me tea?

Andrew Myers



One comment on “Donkey Woods, Bolehills, South Road, Saturn

  1. tonyroadtrip
    December 17, 2013

    Very evocative and enjoyable piece Andrew. I got the reading bug from Walkley Library too (Billy Bunter books mainly, hard to credit it now) but as we lived down near Langsett Road I have a very clear memory of ‘gravity’s pull’ on the way up there!
    All the best and well done
    Tony Tingle

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