After visiting Littlehampton today and thinking about my granddad, William Reginald , always known as Reg, and his love of travel, I was reminded of this poem. It was written when Reg was fifty, but I wonder if he ever read it, and I wonder if it reminded him of his travels and adventures when he was younger?
It is a marvellous poem by the Australian poet, Walter James Redfern Turner who was born in 1884, four years before Reg. He died in 1946.
WHEN I was but thirteen or so
I went into a golden land,
Took me by the hand.
My father died, my brother too,
They passed like fleeting dreams,
I stood where Popocatapetl
In the sunlight gleams.
I dimly heard the master’s voice
And boys far-off at play,
Had stolen me away.
I walked in a great golden dream
To and fro from school–
The dusty streets did rule.
I walked home with a gold dark boy,
And never a word I’d say,
Had taken my speech away:
I gazed entranced upon his face
Fairer than any flower–
O shining Popocatapetl
It was thy magic hour:
The houses, people, traffic seemed
Thin fading dreams by day,
They had stolen my soul away!
by W.J.R. Turner