Let me set the scene:
It is a cold Winter's day
and I am homesick.
I have only seven years
and my red knees are frozen -
sticking out, knobbly,
from under short grey trousers.
Out of the scullery door
I can see the field
and hear, in it, the slow chugging
of the school generator.
The light bulb swinging
and slightly dimming
between each generated chug.
The smell of gaberdine rainmacs
hung up to dry,
And above the macs
are cauliflowers hanging
"to improve their flavour":
It is a sickening combination!
Shortly - because it is Sunday -
we will have to wash and change
into our cassocks and ruffles,
then file solemnly, in pairs,
along the pathway to the
adjoining village church.
Michael, a village boy,
forteen of therabouts,
will stand at the very back
pumping the bellows up and down
feeding the organ's greedy pipes.
Before I move towards the front
I can see Michael and as usual
he catches my eye and smiles.
A crooked missing-teeth smile,
but friendly all the same.
He alone isn't at all phased
by us Choristers being 'toffs'.
I smile right back and then
I move up front and wait
for the grumpy headmaster's baton
to command my soprano notes.
Every Sunday is the same -
save for the next in line
when Michael is replaced
by a wheezing farmer of
great age it seemed to me.
At Choir practice on Monday
evening the headmaster imparts
the news that tomorrow
we will be "doing a funeral".
I am afraid of coffins,
and refuse. Result - six strokes
of his stinging cane
and sent to bed in disgrace.
After the funeral other boys
relate that Michael was killed
when he played in the field
with his father's shotgun.
I cried that Michael was gone,
forseeing loneliness and...
no more smiles at Evensong.

© Griffonner 2022

Poetry by Griffonner The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 155 times
Written on 2022-08-02 at 00:20

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Man, talk about a scene. Wow.

I can only guess at how many layers this has been buried beneath, this has grit, realism and honesty. The innocence next to the hardship. What an emotional read.

D G Moody The PoetBay support member heart!
A poem and a story; a skill you use in abundance; it carried me along to the final twist. Bravo Allen

Alan J Ripley The PoetBay support member heart!
I found this very touching
Regards Alan

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
Such fine detailing! Great poem, Allen.

jim The PoetBay support member heart!
Poetry was created to relate verse like, to serve a purpose.

Very intimate and touching.

Uncle Meridian The PoetBay support member heart!
Allen, what a heart-rending poem, of such carefully limned detail.