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.