Blooming Bocage


The air is heavy with scent of hawthorn
which we used to call bread and cheese.
I tried to eat it once, unrewarded
by the slightest hint of Cheddar for my daring.

A few yards further, I’m assailed
by heady perfumes, too many to identify.
My ignorance shames me.  Hmm, a whiff of lilac
from the garden over the way.
I thank God for hedgerow flowering
to sweeten the muddy trudge through the bocage.

More hawthorn, renowned as May blossom.
Before it flowers, mothers everywhere
decline to discard a single layer
of their infants’ winter wrapping.
I remember perspiring on the way to school
in many a May heatwave
when tardy hawthorn failed to flower.

Humble hawthorn, unregarded
until that victorious burst of bloom
announces summer and children rejoice to shed
vest,   liberty bodice and socks –


Notes:  My walks around the village are usually on a network of green sunken paths between fields, known as bocage,  rich in wildlife.  To American readers a vest is a jacket, but in UK English, it is an undergarment.  Liberty bodices have disappeared from use, but they used to be the bane of most children’s life:  a fitted cotton bodice worn over a vest, with strips of tape keeping them in shape, and ending in rubber buttons to hold up woollen stockings.  I well remember the buttons would come off, leaving me clutching the top of the stocking through my skirt, to prevent the dreaded elephant legs!

Restless Jo posts her pictures of her Monday walks, and invites us to post our promenades. This week her walk was in a beautiful area of Poland.  The sun is shining its heart out today, so I thought I would join her in spirit.



All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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14 Responses to Blooming Bocage

  1. Heyjude says:

    Popped over from Jo’s Walks to see what you were up to, and found your lovely poem about May blossom, which I went searching for this weekend on a walk of my own! Beautiful poem Viv and though I remember liberty bodices thank goodness I didn’t have to wear one. As the saying goes “ne’er cast a clout till May is out” and all the arguments about whether this referred to the blossom or the month! I think nowadays thank goodness we are sensible enough to dress for the weather.
    Jude xx


  2. so much in bloom at this time of year – it’s a feast for the senses. I shall refrain from tasting hawthorn however, in any of its forms!


  3. What a joy to virtually walk with you, Viv!! How I’d love to actually be there to enjoy a jaunt with you!

    Those flowers are magnificent…towering beauty and wow, I can just imagine the rich scent.

    Your words and notes are the highlight of my day…thank you! 🙂


  4. colonialist says:

    Liberty bodice sounds like a contradiction in terms or a very oxy moron.
    What DOES hawthorn taste like?


  5. restlessjo says:

    I did wonder about Bocage, Viv. You paint a lovely picture 🙂
    Sadly I’m old enough to remember the feeling of a liberty bodice 😦 Many thanks for strolling with me.


  6. Misky says:

    I must google a liberty bodice, as my imagination is stretching to fathom this discomfort. Wonderful piece, Viv, that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.


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