and shop elsewhere…
“Passing Arcadia Close”
as editor –
“Hogwords, New poetry from Hampshire”
Winchester Poetry Festival
for my grandson
Outside, it’s starless black.
A mile or so away, you’re a month old, and I hope,
sleeping, or at least entrancing your tired parents.
To see you, that first time, I’d to take a bus
round the houses, past Arcadia Close,
near the hospitals, gynae and otherwise.
I recalled the name, from a time before
when I thought I might die before ever having
a grandchild and could only imagine you, an alien,
beautiful head drifting towards me past the houses,
their windows all respectably curtained. You were amorphous
like a cartoon ghost. Only when I’d held you
did you become substantial to me – though your closed eyes,
your shapely skull, made you even more
like someone who’d arrived from elsewhere, from another planet,
from a long way away, Arcadia, even.
Arcadia – we pass it or drift through
before knowing how to recognise the place,
fists curling and uncurling as we try, belatedly,
to grasp anything about it.
I looked up,
from that other bus, years ago, to catch the name,
wondering if fate had played some sort of cruel joke
or if a benevolent God had set it there
to reassure, to lure me on
to the hope that one day I would indeed see you,
your starfish hands pointing everywhere at once.