Sunday, April 11, 2010

First Taste of Heaven and Hell

The chairs and tables were as I remembered,
some fifteen years after that first visit.
A light coloured wood, with smooth, curved backs and
the glass topped tables with a greenish tinge.
Near the window stood the shining column
of the coffee machine, on the counter,
the one that had made the terrible sound.
I must have screamed when the steam jet shot out.
from the pain that only a child could feel.
The fear had begun with the great steam trains:
I didn't want to be an engine driver,
leaning out of the cab, showing white teeth,
polishing levers with an oily rag.
I had screamed in pain on the platform too
and then again in the ice-cream parlour,
but recovered when Granny calmed me down.
The metal cup was strange and very cold.
all covered with tiny drops of water,
each one clearly visible to my eyes.
In the cup was a chocolate hemisphere,
topped off with a segmented wafer.
Clumsily, with a long spoon, I tasted
my first ice cream, and it was very good.
Afterwards, we stood looking at the cups,
displayed in the shop window opposite.
Some were silver and some were gold and some
were inscribed with copperplate writing.
"That big one there is for the Flower Show,"
Granny told me, before we walked back home.

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