Fifty Not So Upright Years
Casual against the red brick of industry
Trying to seem as permanent, as belonging
With my first working day ahead, we leaned
Impressing epic resonance on impressionable innocence.
In one smooth flow of flapping overalls
Dolly slopped Jingle style with a touch of pigeon over his dogend
And negotiating obsequiously past Hawkeye
Dived into the sweet tobacco ambience of Will’s Woodbines .
Besant, coughing on his second roll-up, spat
Declared his status and comedic credentials
By grabbing at my dear father’s genitals
Who said, by way of initiation and without a flinch or smile,
“Fuck off George”, and to me
“Let’s go. He’s an idiot”
Stubbed out his cigarette by mine.
Will you go to Bosistow
To a look out in a loft
To peer into a vacant sea
From Faraway normality?
Or will you pick at the sores of love
Those soft contusions spreading blue
Proclaiming yet more lividly your loss.
Trundling came the enemy
His determined uphill rumbling smacked
Of orders under execution,
Slow, searching, deliberate
One baleful eye impartially disposed,
Barrel nosing, poking his tankful of doctrinal power.
Ducking quick, Vic said
“See you at the pearly gates Sam!”.
In the death camp
Within the sight and smell of God’s evil
He would gently turn a young girls head
With his new-born hands
Adjusting the last rag of her soiled decency
To look a bit more dignified atop her mound.
Later he would recall her murmur “Danke”
As her blossom shed its petal of finality
His spirit bled its masquerade of faith.
I will go to Bosistow
(But not upon the tide)
To a pier that rides the star strung sea
The length of it I’ll stride
And on this glistening sea of dreams
Will bob along the rim
Of history healed
Where time stands still
And smiles go on remembering him.
Trundling the enemy comes, rumbling for attack
As spies are shot, explosives set, grenades go flying back
But out of the particles of war has come
An old familiar face now young
Has come at last to their trysting place
For her soldier boy once more.
Dismissing curtain lurkers
With their world-will-keep-on-turning chat,
Securely binding warders with his charm
And by lobbing out with deadly force
Whatever served his purpose
My father made his bravest stand
And after fifty not so upright years
I heard him swear a second time
“Turn that fucking light out!”
As we said goodnight.
From Domestics by Paul Warwick. In fondest memory of his father Percival (Sam) Warwick who died 22nd September 2015 at the great age of 95