James the Milk
Half small slag stone half concrete,
down it goes, we goes, down the path
to Jame’s the Milk’s dairy;
all white wash and cold marble slabs.
Outside, milk churns wait, inside solitude.
He has a white coat of course, and there
are butter patters on the shelf. Buy milk
by refilling your bottle from a white jug.
It is so white in here that the milk
is almost invisible.
My memory does not include his face,
why should it? I don’t see any cows either.
In my hand I have a crust from Evan’s the shop
smothered with salted Welsh butter.
The boy is happy.
Then there is the band shed.
My father said it was a band shed.
It is slag and stone and mortar
and is locked. The huge door is locked.
But push and the whole thing swings from the top
and in the boys hop to explore - nothing there except
the dark mischief that exits when boys will be boys.
Upon the wrecked car the gangsters shoot
the others who are not gangsters, but they
might be, for the firefight is ferocious.
Then a pow wow on the ledge along the side
of the green corrugated garage of childhood
memories. Remember further down? The frogs
under stones under stones above where the
little moss stream joins the faster gutter.
They were all called gutters.
Into the culvert under the road.
They were all called culverts,
and this one ran right under the station;
and we walked it through, passed the air vent,
an underground tower.
White stalactites, rat droppings and wet socks
running bravado to its end. We did.
James the Milk son you were a glowing archangel
high above this lot. Where were the cows? Up on
Kilvey hill they were, see up there at the end of my finger.
Where the heather smelled of honey, although
we never had honey, or knew that there were shops
that sold it. Carbolic and Brasso yes, honey no.
Funny that init like?
Very funny mun.