Gasps of the past inform the present . . .

Route 66 was an adventure for my brothers and me in the battered old Mercedes 190D.

So I wasn’t sure I got much out of the writing workshop on Bank Holiday Monday — it felt rather more useful for beginning writers, and of course I fancy myself a bit with three years of writing group under my belt these days.

But I was chatting about the day with our beloved neighbour, and I realised that I had got something revealing out of at least one of the set tasks, a task we had to complete in some ten or fifteen minutes, after perusing a poem by Clive James, When We Were Kids. I hadn’t realised how much I owed our dad for taking the family out on this adventure, how much that trip may have informed my subsequent life. So there you have it, creativity just for the enquiry into form, function and content. Thanks Clive, and thanks Claire, for a lovely session.

Here then, a fifteen minute piece that veers on doggerel, I admit it, that explores that debt, lightly tripping off my tongue, but also a frank consideration of an impetus that seems to have set off a lifetime of exploration.

Once long ago, and now we two go

Oh, once I was younger and open and free
and all of the world was there waiting for me.
I wanted it all and I wanted it more
and nothing would do but to go and explore.

It started downstairs in the cellar one day
right beside the old furnace a’banging away.
See my father was building a roof-top contraption
To carry our stuff on our grand exploration.

A couple false starts but it all came out good
and he fastened it tight with a rope to the hood.
Then we set out so brisk on a bright sunny morn
uncaring for aunty all ‘lone and forlorn.

California, the west, give up all of your best!
Through the hot needle sands of the desert we stressed
and then the Grand Canyon so high and so scary —
we held ourselves back from the edge;  it was hairy!

Around that old route he led, Route Sixty-Six.
We trundled along never minding the risk.
I remember it well, must have rung quite a bell
‘cause I venture out now and I whoop and I yell.

So we travel away and we travel so far
in our old motorhome we exchanged for a car.
We venture abroad and we laugh and we shout
As we share all our joys, on the road, we exult.

One response to “Gasps of the past inform the present . . .”

  1. Georgina Welton Avatar
    Georgina Welton

    That’s wonderful Larry. I can almost glimpse those little boys and the great adventure. Let’s hope we have given our children such enthusiasm for life.


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