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?