Kim Novak, Lana Turner, Beryl Lane.
No, just having you on.
Beryl Lane is no star from the fifties,
The fifties long gone.
Nor is she the sister of a Beatles’ song,
Nor the ghost of an old friend,
That comes to mind again one evening
After half a bottle of wine,
When the memory leaves you sad and hollow.
No, Beryl Lane was pointless work,
And now let me explain.
Beryl Lane is nothing more
Than the name of a road near school,
A steep hill, far too steep, I remember.
“And then you run up Beryl Lane and down Little Entry”
Said the master,
And we, cold in white T-shirts,
In 58 or 59,
And in the rain of mid-November,
Started off on our cross-country run.
Exhausted with the stitch,
For this part came near the end,
We reached the foot of Beryl Lane,
But there was the mouth of Little Entry,
Just a stone’s throw away.
It would be the work of a moment,
Just a moment to jog over there,
To miss the steep climb up the hill
And then back down again.
After all, such activity
Was for the grand old Duke of York.
The master on duty saw to it,
As he saw to everything,
For nothing escaped his notice,
That we ran up Beryl Lane,
And then left into Little Entry at the top
And down again to where we’d been before.
Up the hill and down again,
Would that really make us better men?
It must have all become ingrained
For often since,
Just as we did so long before,
At so many moments,
With no master there at all,
Have I run up Beryl Lane,
And down Little Entry once more.