Saturday 20 February 2021

Two Poems by Roger Haydon


Our privilege

When the big spring tides rise and fall
and the moon pulls the North Sea far away,
she bids us follow out from the shoreline,
moves aside the blue-grey water,
to show us hidden treasure
like crab corpse fragments,
stranded shining jellyfish discs,
empty split razor fish shells,
plastic waste snagged in crevices
and a washed up decaying porpoise.

We find sand blasted glass jewels
amid coiled lugworm casts,
with waders probing for a meal
by random sea carved sculptures
and lobster pots tide heaved out of place
amidst stranded rock pool islands
bordered by slippery sea weed mats,
limpets rock clamped down tight
and endless spreading acres of sea cleaned sand
unmarked by any human footprint.

And us? Our joy and our privilege is to be
in curve of this bay, on this north east coast
at the right time in the right place and
keep our eyes and ears open
and deep breathe the cool clear ozone.


Where I walked as a child

Falling asleep to the wind hissing
in the tops of full leafed plane trees
I hear the night time roar of lions
in the distant zoo in Regent’s Park
as an owl on the balcony balustrade
ghosts away on silent wings.

Morning, awake in my high-ceilinged bedroom
I rise to wash and dress and eat toast
before the familiar walk to school,
a lanky, gangly, awkward child
unaware of crossing the road
in the path of a cursing cyclist.

A journey via zebra crossings
along broad avenues of fancy mansions,
autumn leaves heaped round lamp posts
where a kicked pile glues dog shit to my shoe,
crossing busy roads, dodging traffic
heading onward to Lords and Baker Street,
Oxford Street, Hampstead Heath,
Camden Town and Golders Green.

Weekend shopping trailing my mother
I watch white aproned women
in the white tiled room in the back of Sainsburys
cut, shape and wrap butter then
my mother buys rye bread from Grodzinskis
sliced on demand by a fabulous machine
as I gaze hypnotised in the toy shop window next door
waiting for something, wanting something,
a lonely Jewish child of anxious Jewish parents.

Roger was born in London but has lived in the North East of England for well over 40 years. He retired in 2012 from a working life in health care and environmental consultancy among other odd occupations demanding mainly dry as dust reports and proposals. Now, getting on a bit, he is finding deep pleasure in writing odd bits of flash fiction, short stories and the occasional poem. He’s trying to learn what words can really do, find a consistent voice. About six years ago, he acquired an allotment and passionately wishes he had done that years ago.

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