No, he was not Joe,
The eldest one, who went
To Midnight Mass, seemed so
Grownup, then simply went.
Not Mary, thought the pretty one
Who - yes, she married young.
Or Angela, bright and intent
Who found a farmer's son.
Not William, tall and peacock dark.
He was the one in Sales.
Not Maureen, youngest and most spoilt
Called "mardy" through her wails.
He was Michael, freckled, pale,
Who sat upon the wall
Our neighbour's son, after late tea
As we watched Sunday fall
Upon his father's well-dug rows,
White rabbits in their cage
The pub doves ruffling broken slates;
At eight, not quite my age,
But quiet, affable, afraid
To frighten or offend.
Idly we talked, ate fallen pears:
September's child, a friend.
Now he is dead, at forty-six;
His good heart failed; and mine
Is filled by doves, gold reek of pears,
And that low land's dark shine.
If you've any comments on
this poem, Alison Brackenbury would be pleased to hear from you.