‘In an Orchard’ – a poem by William Wootten

 
 

    In an Orchard

 

Shall we drink a while and think of Eden,
As in an orchard filled with waspy windfalls
Children shout and run?
Late summer sun
Is angled close to term time, and the walls’
Strong yellow means the days are not so long.
Something will go wrong,
Slow as rot in tennis huts or sudden
As the crush of apple under foot, while fun
Itself turns ciderous to taste;
The orchard’s children are misplaced,
Toys left out overnight
And ruined by the morning.

But where is God (that crisp, rich gentleman
Who lifted us to blossom in our time)?
He is sternfaced and appalled,
For we have called
Him names too often, and the crime
Of barefaced scrumping’s written on our looks
And in our picture books,
While in the grasses there are beasts we can
No longer understand now the walled
Orchard with its tennis court,
The gracious house we might have bought
If we had got things right,
Rings to our last warning.

 

William Wootten

About William Wootten

William Wootten's collection 'You Have a Visitor' was published by Worple Press in 2016. A paperback edition of his critical study 'The Alvarez Generation: Thom Gunn, Geoffrey Hill, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath & Peter Porter' including a new biographical afterword will be published by Liverpool University Press this November. 'Reading Walter de la Mare', his annotated selection of de la Mare's poems, will be published by Faber & Faber in June 2021.