By Stephen Kingsnorth
Where pastures, crops were once enclosed - remember acts from history days - we hedged our bets with layered edge, a folded hem, first tacked, then sown with berried seeds, gin-runny sloes. That edging served as travel routes, safe paths to navigate through space, for isolate, connected ways, where open place turns life to prey. Hawfinch and thorn, safe corridors, rich fruit for fieldfare, redwing blood, a snuggle nest for hibernate, and cattle buffer from the wind, a chain link fence of briar growth, the crisscross maze, field brush to copse, from thicket clump to spinney tump.
The doll is dead, as choo-choo train, but when we played we did not know those toys declared the genes we wore, her daisy trims, my Thomas wear. We rowed of course, as toddlers do, though never over trews we tore; I pulled plaits, she kicked my shins, we both had balls to spin around. We climbed old trees, swung, danced a jig, as amazons with swallows bound, branched out, mucking about in boats, spurned park keepers’ Keep off the Grass. Carpeted, cross-legged on floor, I laid my Hornby Double O, stood signals when the points were reached, a level crossing, changing track. The timetable was disciplined. My key, wind up when loco slowed, if lost its umph, ran out of steam, lost traction, coming off the rails. With sleepers laid across my route, tender not always running smooth, I looped the loop, though down to earth, connections made with which I chose. My station platform half a crown, tiara hair like fairy lights, the livery on rolling stock, my brand, the company I keep. The gradient sometimes seem steep - but tour continues whistle-stop. I have no truck with, golly, doll whose line, discrimination fine.
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church with Parkinson’s Disease, has had some 300+ pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, most recently Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Parliament Literary Magazine, Runcible Spoon, Poetry Potion, Ariel Chart Literary Journal. https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/
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