Resources on poetry by the poets themselves

It was Long Ago

IT WAS LONG AGO

I’ll tell you, shall I, something I remember?
Something that still means a great deal to me.
It was long ago.

A dusty road in summer I remember,
A mountain, and an old house, and a tree
That stood, you know,

Behind the house. An old woman I remember
In a red shawl with a grey cat on her knee
Humming under a tree.

She seemed the oldest thing I can remember,
But then perhaps I was not more than three.
It was long ago.

I dragged on the dusty road, and I remember
How the old woman looked over the fence at me
And seemed to know

How it felt to be three, and called out, I remember
“Do you like bilberries and cream for tea?”
I went under the tree

And while she hummed, and the cat purred, I remember
How she filled a saucer with berries and cream for me
So long ago.

Such berries and such cream as I remember
I never had seen before, and never see
Today, you know.

And that is almost all I can remember
I never had seen before, and never see
Today, you know.

And the taste of the berries, the feel of the sun I remember,
And the smell of everything that used to be
So long ago,

Till the heat on the road outside again I remember,
And how the long dusty road seemed to have for me
No end, you know.

That is the farthest thing I can remember.
it won’t mean much to you. It does to me.
Then I grew up, you see.

ELEANOR FARJEON

Classroom tip: What is interesting about this “memory” poem by Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) is the intensity of the images- the red shawl, the grey cat, the heat on the dusty road. Read it aloud and use it as a model for each child to write about a vivid early memory, finding their own strong images.