Blog,  Classic,  English,  Literature

Crossing the frontier by Alec Derwent Hope

Crossing the frontier they were stopped in time,

Told, quite politely, they would have to wait:

Passports in order, nothing to declare

And surely holding hands was not a crime

Until they saw how, ranged across the gate,

All their most formidable friends were there.
Wearing his conscience like a crucifix,

Her father, rampant, nursed the Family Shame;

And, armed wlth their old-fashioned dinner-gong,

His aunt, who even when they both were six,

Had just to glance towards a childish game

To make them feel that they were doing wrong.
And both their mothers, simply weeping floods,

Her head-mistress, his boss, the parish priest,

And the bank manager who cashed their cheques;

The man who sold him his first rubber-goods;

Dog Fido, from whose love-life, shameless beast,

She first observed the basic facts of sex.
They looked as though they had stood there for hours;

For years – perhaps for ever. In the trees

Two furtive birds stopped courting and flew off;

While in the grass beside the road the flowers

Kept up their guilty traffic with the bees.

Nobody stirred. Nobody risked a cough.
Nobody spoke. The minutes ticked away;

The dog scratched idly. Then, as parson bent

And whispered to a guard who hurried in,

The customs-house loudspeakers with a bray

Of raucous and triumphant argument

Broke out the wedding march from Lohengrin.
He switched the engine off: “We must turn back.”

She heard his voice break, though he had to shout

Against a din that made their senses reel,

And felt his hand, so tense in hers, go slack.

But suddenly she laughed and said: “Get out!

Change seatsl Be quickl” and slid behind the wheel.
And drove the car straight at them with a harsh,

Dry crunch that showered both with scraps and chips,

Drove through them; barriers rising let them pass

Drove through and on and on, with Dad’s moustache

Beside her twitching still round waxen lips

And Mother’s tears still streaming down the glass.

….. The End …..

Leave a Reply