Friday, September 30, 2011


Childhood Retreats

Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood (London: Quercus, 2009), p. 103:
Irrespective of the cirumstances in which children grow up, we make for ourselves (and sometimes in the least appetising, most improbable places) secret and healing retreats, where actuality and imagination meet, and time stands outside the door. And what goes on in these places is often so potent, so resonant that we revisit them for the remainder of our lives.
Thomas Hardy, Childhood Among the Ferns:
I sat one sprinkling day upon the lea,
Where tall-stemmed ferns spread out luxuriantly,
And nothing but those tall ferns sheltered me.

The rain gained strength, and damped each lopping frond,
Ran down their stalks beside me and beyond,
And shaped slow-creeping rivulets as I conned,

With pride, my spray-roofed house. And though anon
Some drops pierced its green rafters, I sat on,
Making pretence I was not rained upon.

The sun then burst, and brought forth a sweet breath
From the limp ferns as they dried underneath:
I said: "I could live on here thus till death";

And queried in the green rays as I sate:
"Why should I have to grow to man's estate,
And this afar-noised World perambulate?"
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

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