5th Jul 13
Congleton Writers Forum
Sentinel Poetry Movement
The Ted Hughes Society
Earth-moon Ted Hughes
Segora Poetry Prose Plays
Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle
Raymond Williams Foundation
and in the shop…
“Bird In The Hand”
“Dog’s Eye View”
“No Laughing Matter”
“Blood Brothers, New and Selected”
“Points of Reference”
“Rites of Passing”
of you. Little big-man,
your parting straight as if it’s been ruled;
your medallion face, shining. The rest
of you, a compromise. Shirt freed
from collar, cuffs rolled up,
braces sagging, dangling,
your trousers top-button undone,
and you’re sitting, square-set
but comfortable at the scrubbed scullery table
while Gran’s out of your way, clattering
at something deep in the kitchen.
In front of you, the chicken frame,
collapsed, empty wreck of itself.
This is Sunday evening, and you’ve
put away your workday face, have lost
that churchy-important verger look,
and you’re you: Granddad. Full-on.
All smiles. Fingers in the chicken frame,
dibbing, licking glistening lips, and sucking.
Lifting gizzard, and mouthing it
as if it were harmonica you’re trying
your best to get a tune from. Enjoying it.
Getting stuck in, down to the bone,
the chicken grease sleeking up your
cheeks, your skin – and, suddenly,
your eyes give signs you’re aware
of my staring. If this were Russia,
is what they say, but without need
for words. You’ve come through the vacuities
of trench, the slitherings and founderings
of mates, the thirties and their hunger pangs,
the second war, Belsen and the bomb,
and this is Sunday, after all, in your
after-life. And Yes, you say, Yes.
That’s good. Then pile the chicken bones
to a bonfire pile, and wipe your fingers
on your handkerchief, carefully,
carefully, as if there’s still time.