Christopher Isherwood was at school at Repton in Derbyshire. Following on from a balloon release at a school event one day, a card for his balloon was returned to him from address given as ‘Mapperley Plains’. This conjured up the imagining of a rather more romantic location than, as he discovered when driving through Mapperley on a book tour many years later, the reality.
As a young man, inspired by his initial dreamy imaginings of the location. He wrote this.
By the swift ways of shade and sun
We trod the morning. Spring was white
And hushed in lovely pools of light —
But we were eager to have won
Mapperley Plains, so strange and fair;
Nor guessed what should await us there.
And strong noon bridged half Heaven in ﬂame
And day swung down from blue to blue . . .
We marched untired, for we knew
Daylight could never be the same,
Or Glory half so glad, as when
The weird plains seize the hearts of men.
Their beauty is the sword that cleaves
Youth, royally lived in pride and laughter,
From blank, prosaic Age. Hereafter
A bright day’s ending . . . fallen leaves —
Mapperley Plains are years behind,
Their music dies within the mind.