Giles laughed. A sound that spoke humour and a sad resignation. He lifted out a small stack of manuscripts; forgotten poems crumpled at the back of his drawer. Some were older than others. Now he had found them he was resigned to the fact that he would have to read them. Like a moth to a fluorescent trap found in a restaurant he had to read them, and stretching the analogy to breaking point, he knew he would be electrocuted and end up lying in a messy tray below. He laughed again. It was such overblown imagery that had made him hide the poems in the first place. He selected the oldest set of verses. A morose one written as a teenager following a dream.

I opened my eyes kind of slow,

to a still Summers day.

I shielded my eyes from its glow,

and there she was smiling

with a look so beguiling,

saying, "I'll show you the way"

Then with a wave of her hand,

indicating to me what to do,

I followed her on to the sand,

and with a look all appealing

she sent my senses reeling

saying, "I'll have the last dance with you."

and all changed to evening

Nothing was moving

but we danced.

Her whisper was soothing

and entranced,

I followed her out.

and all changed to her room

She let me into her garden

garden of delight.

How good it was

a wonderful sight.

She laughed, threw back her hair,

and I knew I need never care

that my long years of innocence

had finally ended.

and all changed to morning.

I lifted my head

to see her still smiling.

"Go to sleep now", she said,

and with that look still beguiling

I closed my eyes.

and all changed to morning.

I awoke to reality.

Its chill ran right through.

No warm Summer breeze

came to greet me.

I know not if you were in

colour or black and white.

Such questions

never come to mind. Like

things that you wish you had done;

the idea comes to late.

But I fool myself.

Like as not I will see another

and dream another,

and you will be but a reminder

of a night of animated pleasure.

Until then.

and all changed to morning...

All the things that had happened since that wishful thinking dream. Giles wondered which was worse, the loss of innocence or the way it was lost. Buffy still suffered. Yet Willow's was surely a memory she relished. Did they write teenage poems and stuff them at the back of a drawer in embarrassment ? Giles' innocence has passed in a haze of smoke and alcohol.

The years that had followed spoke of rebellion; against his calling and those who dared to obligate him to it. The next poem or group of poems read like a script to a video of his early twenties. He could remember his decision to break away from his Watcher training and his insane friends. The same friends he had sat with and conjured up a demon. He thought back to a Mayday afternoon, sitting on the top of Box Hill in Surrey, England. The River Mole flowing at its base. He had broke away from the strangle hold of obligation and felt happy with just his own company.

A man sits upon a hill

surveying the view of unseen faces

looking up, but not seeing him sitting still.

Unseen thoughts, unseen embraces

of people together, not alone.

He lays there on the ground

unaware of nature existing -

flurrying and scurrying over the wide surround -

and not listening to those insisting

that birds of a feather flock together.

The nowhere man sits like a rock,

refusing to see hear or talk

about why he keeps away from the flock.

- "if they need to be told

then they wouldn't understand

how satisfying it feels to hold

my own life in my own hand" -

The man carries on walking

with no aim or intention,

one step out of sequence.

Whilst in the opposite direction

the river flows on.

The man feels no need to hide

or submit to correction,

showing no pretence.

Whilst in the opposite direction

the river flows on.

The beauty of the grass flowers and trees

pull him to the ground.

Sitting down with his hands on his knees

the towering hill inspires in him

a feeling of fortune

capable of all feeling, all sight and all sound.

Such naiveté, Giles thought. How could he have thought he could go from summoning a demon to living a life of a recluse. Two such extremes spoke of his immaturity at that moment of his life. Duty and obligation had eventually made him come down off that mental hill. He picked up his training, read the prophecies and signs. He wasted years until he was finally called to be a Watcher, or a replacement one at any rate. But, at least he now had a vocation, a job, a focus.

Oh, Buffy had been so difficult to handle in those early days, and her friends were not much easier. Except Willow. She relished and seemed to cling to her new found responsibilities and usefulness. Darling Willow. So strong in the face of all the adversities they faced, but retaining that childlike joy of discovering love and new friendships.

Giles knew why he found it so difficult to cope with his family of delinquents; they were so young. Everything they experienced separate from the demon dodging was felt to the fullest of their young emotions. Every smile, taunt success and failure was as important to them as the more mundane facets of adulthood were to him. They could risk death with aplomb, but crumble at a thoughtless remark made by a more popular pupil. They could live with the knowledge that monsters might actually live under the bed, but their whole world would be meaningless if a boy or girl showed contempt at their hopes for a mutual attraction.

Giles had found it so hard to relate to such things. After all, it had been so long since that hopeful dream. Despite having re entered the world of people and responsibilities, he was still that fool on the hill. The Nowhere Man. When he had first arrived in Sunnydale love was still a foreign land to him, but he still wanted to go there. A middle-aged man asking teenage questions.

What is love ?

asks the novice.

Eyes across a table

that meet and hold

for an awkward moment ?

What is love ?

enquires the novice.

A smile or a fable

written and told

to please and content ?

What is love ?

replied the fool.

It cannot be defined

explained or felt

like pain or ecstasy.

What is love ?

mimicked the cynic.

Despair and worry

that causes


What is love ?

dreamed the romantic.


It has to be felt

to be realised.

What is love ?

the novice contemplated.

Can anyone say

how it manifests itself ?

I am none the wiser.

"Hello, Rupert"

Giles turned round suddenly at the voice. He knew that it was just his imagination. An echo brought on by nostalgia. Jenny had been dead now for over a year. "Oh, Jenny" he thought, "I was born when you kissed me. I died when you left me. I lived a few weeks while you loved me" He quoted Bogart from a forgotten movie.

It was Jenny's memory that had started him Spring cleaning in the first place. Hoping to put her image from his mind. He had been doing quite well until he had found those damn poems. Each one was a reminder of a moment in his life. Each one mocking him. Embarrassments and mistakes. He should tear them up, but instead he folds them almost reverently and puts them back where he found them..

He sits down in his armchair and looks at the window; its position in the room allowing the evening sun to fall across him. Jenny's image appears. It dances amongst the dust motes and smiles. Giles smiles . A smile that reveals both humour and a sad resignation. He sees words appearing in his mind. New words for a new moment.

The Sun setting brightly

through the open window

created a hazy

vision in the afterglow,

of a figure standing

like a golden phoenix.

Savouring the image.

The mist edged vision,

with slender legs

as perfect as marble,

hovered to edge

of the watcher's sanity

and flickered in his sight.

She radiated beauty

like a marble goddess,

her figure all frailty,

the watcher defenceless.

But, unlike a statue

she glorified life

in movement,

holding no one position,

swaying from side to side.

Her long dark hair,

fringed above her eyes-

which did not blink nor stare -

but flickered like a glittering prize.

The tops of her breasts

revealed a glimpse,

not explicit, but that which a photographer

catches and calls art.

The figure lost her concentration

the watcher sighed.

The Sun set, breaking the incantation,

but the vision never died.