‘Strawberries for Jude’

Hey! remember the party we had by the river,
rolling chocolate-coated strawberries whole
on the tongue till the shock, the crush,
the red-stained saliva?

you in the water as good as  naked, calling come
in, it's cool. You look like an ancient priestess
celebrating Dionysian rites of pure pleasure.

Now we overblown roses knocking on fifty odd
remember our sixties' sowing when love
was the fashion, we wore striped stockings,
laughed at sensible men.

How we joked about age and sadness, said we'd have
zipped-together-wheel-chairs and crocheted hats
to throw in the air on Sunday afternoon seaside excursions

run amok in Myrtle Park with zimmers,
cheat at bowls. And we forgot the frozen fields,
the shrivelled buds, the berries of grey-
green that turn to dust with a touch.

Ah, Jude! forget our sad song: our fifty luscious years
upon us, let's idle on the moors or in suburban gardens
after six pm, remembering strawberry days forever.

Published in Perceptions 43, Spring 1999; and The Weekend Poem, BBC Knowledge Text, May 2001.