Reclaiming the Night

September 1994

In this poem, I’ll turn right,
rewalk that short walk
that changed my life.

I’m walking it at night
and I’m scared,
I’ve lost the knack,

although there’s no-one much
about and the road is busy,
so I should be fine.

Breathe,    breathe,
it’s not very far
up Woodland(s) Road,

past Stanhope Road end,
past Holy Trinity Church
then left.    Breathe,

breathe, ignore the graveyard’s
iron gate, cobbled back lane -
unlit, focus on streetlamps

marking the way to the grand
Victorian front door.
And open into light, the bar,

busy chatter. I’m frightened
but I’ll find the room:
the seminar table, people

who know each other, and
know what they are doing -
Women’s Writing Class

at Darlington Arts Centre.
And later,    darker,
I’ll have to walk back home.

I’ve paid for a term
so I’ll come back next week.
Perhaps I can make a go of it.

We’ll see.

Marilyn Longstaff