You know what’s flavouring this custard, boys?
said Huckman, bully, flash, 5C.
Mrs. Stafford’s piss. (Mrs. Stafford,
the mottled queen of the canteen soup-ladle.)
So Jed and Monty kept their dinner money,
cut out through the Westleigh Street allotments
and went to Ed’s for golden cheerful chips.
They walked on to the breakwater, shingle, sand,
and found a seagull with a broken wing.
They were concerned (they were eleven) and they gazed.
It’s hurting, poor bugger. Who to tell?
Not the police, they shouldn’t be out of school.
So they left the seagull the last of Monty’s chips,
walked up to the coastguard’s house and left a note.
The coastguard recognised the uniform.
They were bollocked by the Head and caned.
Later the seagull hobbled to a sheltered ledge below the
They were never to know that
but Monty, for years, every time he saw a seagull sailing
white and high
would think, Maybe that’s our bird.
If you have any comments on this poem, Robert Nisbet would
be pleased to hear from you.