Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more


Ring the Bell

My father and I had a fight one day.
I was mad.   I was nine. 
He was sixty-eight:
He was still in his prime.
I punched him (ouch).
He put up his dukes
To illustrate  (see figure 6H)
The Queensbury Rules.
I looked at him,
said nothing,
But I wanted to
I wanted to shout out loud:
I’m tired, and
You’re retired.
Just for a minute, can’t you
Stop teaching?

Walking in Scotland

We found ourselves in Edinburgh, three
naive children at the Festival.
We saw a play called The Girl With The Iron Claws.
We clapped.
We saw a sketch-show in which each
performer got the giggles at least once
and an old man kept saying, “Esc-aaaaaaaaape.”
It was wittily titled, “Wit-Tank”.
We laughed.
We went to the Camera Obscura and walked repeatedly
through a tunnel of revolving lights.
We staggered.

We found ourselves in Glasgow, in a room
with a window which looked out on Central Station.
You could lie in the bath and listen to the announcer.
We got dressed up, and had two cocktails and a mocktail.
We drove through Glencoe and when we
came out we knew we were not the same.

My mother had told me I learnt to walk in
Chichester, precociously, unshod.
She had had my feet measured the same afternoon.

I learnt to walk again at the age of 44, in the
rock pools of Cullen, shakily re-calculating
angles, shoe-size and depths on the huge Cubist
sculpture on the shore, trying to get a foothold
through the obstinate brown slime.

In the evening, we washed off the salt and
had chips and curry sauce from the Chinese.
We played the ukulele we had bought en
route in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

3 responses to “Poetry

  1. Claire Jones October 20, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    This is one of my favourites, William.

  2. Buffy Noble February 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    This could so easily be about my dad and I.
    Thanks for writing, and for sharing.

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