It was Midsummer Night. Josh said,
Let’s take the van, all of us, pack in,
and drive to the top of the Preseli hills,
get there for midnight.
As they piled out of the van, eleven-thirty,
they seemed to be stepping into a Roman bath
of peace. After an evening’s babbling,
their tongues fell quiet with delight.
The only sound the occasional deep low
from the herd of Friesians on a nearby pasture.
As they trudged, in groups, to the summit,
Greg found himself walking with the girl,
of seventeen or so, they called The Starlet.
In a gang of students, men on degrees
in politics and chemistry and higher maths,
pre-Raphaelite art history females,
Greta from Oxford with her Modern Greats,
Starlet was caricature: the blonde bobbed hair,
the usual clichés … flirty … air-head …
Greg helped her over the rougher grass,
easily, for it was still not far from light
at a quarter to midnight, and suddenly,
her hand was resting in his.
He was conscious, suddenly, of a frisson,
midsummer and its nights’ re-valuing.
A thrill, almost a thrall.