October is a month of ends

And shoals of dead leaves have gathered

Along the gutters of the cobbled street

In which the last of the late harvest chestnuts

Are darkened by the defiant sun,

Or lie disembowelled by ignorant wheels.

From somewhere in Merton, the sweet smell of wood fire

May mitigate against the chill.

But in coffee bars close-by, bereft parents sit contemplating

The prospect of an empty return, and afterwards the quiet house.


October is a month of starts

The newly-minted in over enthusiastic gowns

Or projective college stripes

Seek stationery deals in shops.

Or gather at the Fresher’s Fair

Eyes exploring eyes, voices hesitant.

In the Lodge amongst a group that’s dinner bound,

I recognise myself,

Arriving from a different world,

To learn new habits, think new thoughts.

But underneath the excitement of the moment

Did I know the consequences of this trip?

The no-going-back discovery

On this frontier

Between endings and beginnings

Which I crossed forty years ago,

And again, today?