On a frail twig, a valiant red
rosebud had failed in its struggle to open.
'The neighbouring bushes, irregular and unkempt,
were devoid of leaf or flower.
'They straggled alongside the concrete strip
which once had been the via principalis.
The concrete floor of the ruin was
an indicium of the staff room of the thirties,
mistresses' room, darkroom, Richie's sanctum and
past the gym, the art room.
Of the gym and our formrooms, IVa. 1, Vb, and Va.
no trace remained.
Unlike the other rooms their floors had been made
of wood. Forms IIb, IIIa and the cloakrooms
remained, sad, charred and depressing.
The great black wooden hut, mocked by outsiders
yet sacrosanct to generations of both boys and
staff had received its sentence.
Its slow execution had already begun.
Strangely, the grass of the
quadrangle remained fresh and verdant amid the
Stepping down where one of the two doors had
been. near the erstwhile physics lab gave access
to the quad, the soft greensward underfoot was
soft and welcoming.
Memories were vivid, yet there were no ghosts.
Much later, one winter's afternoon,
I found the wreckers engaged on the final process
of dissection and amputation.
The removal of great sheets of red tiles,
carefully stripped for re-use, exposed naked
rafters, stark and skeletal against a threatening
With chain-saws the cadaver is ruthlessly
dismembered and dragged away piecemeal to some
I shall return again before some
creeping development engulfs the familiar acre,
brief second home to master and pupil alike.
I shall replace the trampled rose with a fresh
posy, a remembrance from us all.
I did..................................just in