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To Occupation Road again,

a whole year nearer my own

retirement now. The track slopes

down past the Record Office

to the river. I am looking for

any of the soft fruit canes

my grandfather planted, but find

instead a stag beetle upside

down on the tarmac, struggling

like a memory, the feelers at full stretch.

Maybugs! she shudders. The pathway

ends at the Thames, where I note

flood defences, vaguely recall

the waterworks, and suddenly they

have found me as a train breaks

through the overgrown embankment.

I want to look up and see my father

at the glass, returning, and wave to him.