Terraced from infancy in a hand-stoned cottage,
warm-palmed, sash-windowed, green door
to the womb’s dark passage across
the scrubbed step inside. There, the more
he stares into the black-leaded grate,
the more the fire disabuses, and as
the blowing-down smoke genuflects,
it carries his dreams back up the chimney,
and his eyes close. Out on the chapel-pubbed street
the accepting night creeps the corners away.
The same dark that, as he gets older,
stumbles him unsure-footed across the slag-stone
back roads towards that which lurks around
every corner furthered farther with his pals
as they purport ‘it’s no big deal’.
This blackmange of testosterone
on loan from time and again
they push daring to the limits of
the village’s turned gaze. The dark
that allows the flash of a chip shop,
an oasis of chrome and a sweet
Rediscovered, it is an empty sarcophagus
blown of tattered bandages and dried tears;
toasting-fork love in the indoors of days,
and all the ways he meandered blasé,
to make his way out of the labyrinthine
kaleidoscope of villagers, and the wicked
ways of boys running in their full sap.
The dark lodestone from the cradle
of his awakening to the drooping of
his final eyes wandering back there in
thought as soft as the deft of sleep,
deep in the radiance of his last goodbye.