The Orchard Revisited

Now living in Ontario, Canada, Sylvia Pugh grew up in the village of Gayton, two miles from Weston. Here she shares a poem reflecting on her childhood memories of the countryside.

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THE ORCHARD REVISITED

The mud, the mire, the tracks of the tractor tyre

That trundles down the lane,

The smell of the flowers, the memories of many hours,

Down the orchard down flooding again.

I romped, I played, I climbed the trees,

Those with branches which would allow

Me to pick apple blossom surrounded by bees,

And perch myself on a stout bough.

Such were those days, which in many ways,

Filled me with memories galore,

I would sing many songs as I swung on my swing,

Down low and up high I would soar.

My swing was in the damson tree

That stood over near the bank,

Which divided us from the Moseley field

Where the gypsies would annually camp.

Those gypsies had children with little to do

Except to make and sell wooden flowers,

They would sometimes go into the orchard too

Where they also would spend many hours.

As is said, “idle hand with nothing to do”

mischief was oft their pursuit,

The rabbits which numbered 12 or more

Were placed in one pen, taboot.

Forgetting all time, counting the hens

And watching the ducks on the pond,

I would check to see that all in their pens,

Before the orchard I would abscond.

Picking gooseberries as I skipped along,

I would sometimes search in vain

For I could hear a little bird’s song,

From where I know not it came.

The mud, the mire, the tracks of the tractor tyre that trundles down the lane,

The smell of the flowers, the memories of many hours, down the orchard came flooding again.

Sylvia Pugh
Quernmore landscape