Monday, 11 March 2013

A hit

This had its first submission in the Interpreter's house competition in 2002, but that competition doesn't appear to have had a theme.  The poem has now finally achieved publication online, as one of the also-rans in the Little gold pencil competition for writing on the theme of a night walk.


The car was speeding and the street was steep
and had no place for feet and we were walking,
north of Salisbury Plain.

Walking at night, winding our clockwork torch --
the music festival a village back,
north of Salisbury Plain.

Walking on sufferance, the road not wide.
The verge was high-stepped and steep fields lay upwards,
north of Salisbury Plain.

The moon steady over the fields.  Our torch
lighting the shiny signs.  The road dark, silent,
north of Salisbury Plain.

A car a minute.  Distant lights, sound, action    
(step on to verge), noise, brightness!  Darkness, silence,
north of Salisbury Plain.

We reached our village.  Walkers were a hazard,
shadows in a red triangle, no footway,
north of Salisbury Plain.

And one car came too fast, the road too narrow.
We hutched against a wall, for want of footway,
north of Salisbury Plain.

And, with respect, I shone the clockwork torch
straight at the windscreen.  It worked!  The car slowed down!
North of Salisbury Plain,

the clockwork torch was mightier than the car!
A paradox, not always true, by far.
Southwards, the steep fields, and the firing range,
and Porton Down, and moonlit Stonehenge,               
on Salisbury Plain.