Two people, two places – in my home town


From far across the years she sang:
And you read your Emily Dickinson
And I my Robert Frost.
She sang those words so beautifully
in harmonies of blue and gold –
an old long-playing record, now for sale –
in Oxfam: Helen with the charcoal eyes –
who’s friends with all the waifs and strays –
she loves them – as if her family.
Together we look out at the first drops of rain;
Together we watch the umbrellas unfurl –
and then the streets dissolve –
The streets of evening mists.

In the cool aesthetic entrance to
the Art college – a dark-eyed girl
is waiting – in black leather army boots –
and a long black overcoat:
A work of art: ‘The girl in the long black coat’ –
an outsider, a creature from the underworld.
I gaze at her … and then:
Is that a glare – a deep-black glare – at me?
I was thinking of painting her portrait –
but dared not ask! So now, I’m wondering:
How many portraits are lost through fear?
Alone, I look outside: the sky is sharp and clear –
A bright blue moon is rising.


These lines were written a few days after watching the film, ‘Wild’ on the television.
The soundtrack to the film certainly helped me with the words.

The old long-playing record is ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme‘ and the poets Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost appear in the beautiful song, ‘The Dangling Conversation‘.


1 thought on “Two people, two places – in my home town”

  1. Dear Rob Nice work! Well done For poetry prize? Can enter it for you Speak soon Best wishes Peter PS I shall need to revive my blog as I have found two films seen recently of extraordinary interest. Both relate to British morale in war time, and both indicate that when we (the British) did once share common values they were never spelt out. By contrast, nowadays we state the need for common values but do not practise them – although a school may be penalised for not giving its interpretration of what they are, sufficient apparent attention! The two films are Darkest Hour Journey’s End Both have received excellent reviews. The Guardian described the main character of Journey’s End, Captain Stanhope, as a self-loathing alcoholic, but even that is said almost in approbation (!) of an outstanding leader in an impossible situation. See also the comment by the working class officer, Lieutenant Trotter, to his company commander – I won’t let you down, Skipper. The contrast to a modern day apprentice contestant is, of course, that Trotter means it – and puts his statement into practice. So, in both 1918 and 1940 we did share common values, and I guess that we no longer do so. I shall probably need to include some reference to Dunkirk, the film, which I find more problematic.


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