Thursday, December 27, 2012

Terrestrial Park


 August 2012

The clouds straddle the flats high up like china clay;
five o clock feels warm and light as August might,
and the flats reach up towards the beckoning light
away from Earth like giant spikes, to head away.

Challenging space as if it needed to be fought,
young riders ride into the sprawling bushy park
on bikes, some paid for, some taken for a lark,
skidding and crashing, from game to impact sport.

The white car with the door wide open draws a crowd,
becomes a learning hub: a local Doctor Seuss
raps tall from a tower where trouble brews.
The car has pedigree, a secret whispered loud,

a half-told story’s well-known sequel, how for hours
it was driven round, returning round a certain bend,
not for a bad reason – just to help a friend.
There’s talk of pacts and treaties, the sharing of powers:

“…if one side can respect, the other understands.”
Now even younger kids have blades; one little boy
a blade that coils and uncoils like a toy,
a game of stick and scatter, for brain and glands

that boil with thoughts. The nerves send their orders;
the bikes skid, slide round; one hits the deck;
the rider smirks, jeans ripped, t-shirt newly wrecked.
Up in the flats a breeze helps a mother get their suppers.

Her thoughts simmer; she won’t go to money-lenders –
even before the doorbell rang she’d know the score.
Now she calls, “Supper” from the window, shouts, shouts more,
and her message is relayed by willing messengers


Kenneth Hyam Dec 2012

4 comments:

Joe Hyam said...

Gangs and knives and blocks of flats. How children play. I like the skidding bikes and feel I know them.

Lucy said...

Teeming and troubling but darkly rich.

Happy New Year!

Roderick Robinson said...

A tale of today, but without relying on obvious images and references. I take comfort (as well as pleasure and inspiration) from your rhymes.

I am immensely drawn to "but not for a bad reason" yet cannot say why. Forgiveness expressed forgivingly? I have no answer. But then this is a poem, not necessarily a source of answers.

Lucas said...

Many thanks, all, for comments. There is a story behind this poem which one day i might try to relate. For the time being I am mindful of one of the characters from the Fair in Hard Times: "Think the best of us, don't think the worst. Don't think the worst."

Robbie, I also am not entirely sure precisely what "not for a bad reason.." refers to. I appreciate your tolerance in the manner of not expecting the poem to be a source of answers.

Lucy, thanks for seeing the dark side of the poem balanced by some kind of richness.

Joe, yes, there is so much to be learned about ourselves and our society by how children play.