David Inshaw The badminton game 1973
David Inshaw 'The badminton game' 1973

The Badminton Game

  Connie Bensley


That morning, I awoke and went down
just as I was, in my green slippers
to look at the hydrangea mariesii -
the only flower Clifton allows in the garden,
for he must have his trees and shrubs.

Out I crept, my slippers darkening in the dew,
and hearing a movement behind me
I turned and found Ruth. She was carrying
the racquets; and so – smiling, not speaking -
we ran between the great bushes to the net,

and there we played (quietly, of course,
so that Uncle Edward might not hear)
until the breakfast gong recalled us.
We ran up to back stairs en dishabille,
and down the front ones, decorous but tardy,

and kissed Uncle Edward; but I took care
to embrace him as he likes best, to forestall
reproof. Colour rose up behind his moustache
and his face worked silently, but then he vanished,
as usual, behind The Times.

David Inshaw Our days were a joy and our paths through flowers 1972
David Inshaw 'Our days were a joy and our paths through flowers' 1972

Connie Bensley lives in Richmond on Thames. She was won several prizes for poetry and has had three collections published, of which the most recent is Central Reservation (Bloodaxe Books)