Birthplace

October sunshine, high on the down;
A view of the city, the harbour, the sea:
The place where I started I cannot disown;
Its marks are indelibly printed on me,
Grown into my flesh as their bearer has grown
Like flukes in the bark of this sycamore tree.

Whatever the healing that knowledge has brought
In banishing nightmares of childish belief;
In spite of my credo of rational thought —
‘Inhabit the days, for the daylight is brief’ —
The marks on my mind from the pox that I caught
Are like spots on the skin of this sycamore leaf.