A PUBLIC MAN

i.m. David Robinson

 

At the celebration of his life –

in an erstwhile garrison church now

educational centre – there was music,

applause, laughter, sadness, his cardboard coffin

with red roses and his panama hat.

And it was as if he were there – as he was,

for sure, in the gathered memories

of the many present and the many,

in absentia, who had written.

The order of service commanded

‘All Sing The Red Flag’,

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

The American swing in its oak shelter

with a living roof sprouting carved tusks or

dragons teeth is very RHS Wisley.

My five year old grand daughter has just

ridden on it and is now pushing it

for the pleasure of others until a tall,

lithe boy of twelve or thirteen arrives

and begins to punt it slowly at first

then faster and higher but always

with care. She joins him, holding the ropes,

urging the swing, and leads the ecstatic

laughter of all the children gripping

the bench as it launches to the sky

and returns to earth,

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INNER MARSH FARM HIDE, BURTON MERE WETLANDS

We have made the longish walk from the car park

on the decking through the marsh marigolds.

Before us is a teeming shallow lagoon.

Beyond are mixed woods, pastoral farmland

and a white house on the ridge of what was

the coast of the estuary before

the river silted and the marsh grew.

Behind the hide is a railway embankment –

the thrum of the odd diesel from Neston

to Wrexham and back baffled by the noise

of the cacophonous colony

of black headed gulls nesting on a islet.

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SOWETO 2010

The old road that passes Orlando West’s

Donaldson Community Hall – where the young

Mandiba taught boxing – was becoming

a highway with verges for the World Cup.

On the central reservation, a man

in rags was selling plastic toilet seats

and a woman was herding three cows.

On a side road, in front of the Hall’s gates,

there had been a shop with a sponsored sign –

‘Burkino Faso Tuck Shop – Coca Cola.’

The business now was shuttered –

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ALMOST ABOVE THE TREES

We were in the canopy among the owls

amid limes and sycamores at the top

of a three storey Victorian semi.

Ours was the children’s floor and the nannies’.

We furnished, decorated, carpeted.

We had our books, our prints, our piano –

and our child quickening in your belly.

I would feel it kick. Our neighbour one floor down

ran off with an actress. His little boy

rattled his play pen all day. In the winter,

mould grew in the bathroom,

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