The Truants by John WalshPosted by on Monday 22nd July, 2013
For years if I ever saw a book that had been illustrated by Edward Ardizzone I would buy it just to discover yet more of his beautiful pen and ink line drawings, most of them I never bothered to actually read at all – and the book pictured below ‘The Truants’ by John Walsh I must have owned for at least a dozen years and I’m sure I had not looked at it since the day I bought it. That is until a few days ago.
I don’t know why I took it down from the book shelf but I’m so glad I did, flicking through the pages I saw the title of one of the poems ‘Last day of the Summer Term’ , perhaps it drew my attention because exactly this time of year is just when the schools in England break up for the long summer holiday, and the hot weather we are having so reminded me of my own summers at school in the heatwaves of 1975 and 1976.
As I read, the poem’s story unfolded from what at first seemed a rather ‘jolly hockey sticks’ girl’s school tale into a haunting image of such melancholy and sadness that I was dumbfounded. I must have read it 50 times at least in the last week.
I searched for more information about John Walsh on the internet but drew a blank, which was sad but in a way I was glad that he had disappeared, the thought that hidden within the pages of so many dusty and forgotten books there were still gems like this just waiting to be discovered by someone interested enough to seek them out made me feel glad that a world of words and dreams still exists somewhere out there besides on a glowing screen.
Or wander vaguely upstairs,
Unanswering photo of father
Posted by Rob R