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Tag Archives Edwardian

AN AFTERNOON IN MAY

By our side gate the old laburnum – whose wood,

in time, may make a chanter or a flute –

is in bloom. I look up through its branches.

There is a little azure and smidgens

of green – and droplets, ringlets, links, chains

of cascading yellow, a torrent of gold.

 

***

 

Our Edwardian neighbourhood fills

with the machined roar of twin turbofans.

An Airbus Beluga – more Arctic whale

than Caspian sturgeon –

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LESSONS FROM HISTORY

Snapped black and white in Kodak Verichrome,

more than seventy years ago, by an aunt

with a Kodak Brownie, I am supine

in a small pram. The park’s avenue

of lime trees in leaf suggests May

and therefore me, coverless, five months.

My fingers are clasped and bare feet are crossed,

like an effigy’s or a lounge lizard’s.

I am awake and eyeing the camera,

through half-shut lids, like an insulted

potentate – or an about-to-be-mardy

baby.  Behind me,

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NEVER SUCH INNOCENCE

Beneath the Edwardian village hall’s
high ceiling, under its oak hammer beams,
beside the Roll of Honour ‘For the Fallen’,
a squad of four year olds does the Conga, plays
The Farmer’s in his Den, Passes the Parcel.
The birthday girl is dressed as Spiderman –
her choice – eschewing Snow White, Rapunzel.

The backcloth of the proscenium stage
is a painting of part of the village
in halcyon shades of early summer –
the elm-lined road from the hall to the church.
There are eighteen names on the Roll –

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SEAMUS HEANEY: A LIVERPOOL MEMORY

After the reading, we strolled down Brownlow Hill

for a Guinness and a chaser at The Vines

next to The Adelphi on Lime Street –

a Walker’s pub in Edwardian baroque.

The westering sun lit the stained glass windows.

 

We were both young men then. He had been married

the year before. I would be married

later that year. His first book had been published

by Faber and Karl Miller’s prescient review

seemed genuinely to bemuse and amuse him.

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MUSIC OF THE SPHERES

Curtains drawn against late October twilight,

working on verses about burgeoning flocks

of raucous, emerald Ring-necked Parakeets

in the Surrey Hills, I hear the murmur

of girls. It is Halloween. The bell rings.

There is a bevy of neighbours’ daughters –

one with a painted face, all on the cusp

of womanhood – lovely, ingenuous.

 

From habit, I watch them safely down the street

and then, before I shut the door, look up

at the night sky,

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