Prepare the journey North,
Smothering feet in unfamiliar socks,
Sweeping the bathroom free of sand, collecting
Small change of little worth.
Make one last visit to the tip
(Did we drink all those bottles?) and throw out
The unread heavy paperbacks, saving
One thriller for the trip.
Chill in the morning air
Hints like a bad host that we should be going.
Time for a final swim, a walk, a last
Black coffee in the square.
If not exactly kings
We were at least francs bourgeois, with the right
To our own slice of place and time and pleasure,
And someone else’s things.
Leaving the palace and its park
We take our common place along the road,
As summer joins the queue of other summers,
Driving towards the dark.
NOTE: I am most grateful to the Comment added by 'Haimona', correcting several mistakes in my original post of this poem. I have now corrected the layout, added the missing letters and word, and herewith add the following: "Francis Hope was one of the passengers killed in the Paris crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 981 on Sunday 3 March 1974. This poem was published in the New Statesman of 8 March 1974 at the end of Corinna Adam's obituary, "Francis Hope 1938-74", printed on page 324." It remains true that it was brought to my attention by Mr Rupert Walters. Hope was Rupert's wife Margy's cousin.