The Thick and the Thin of it
for Darryl, my brother
By itchy backs, scratched seeded blackberries,
Nettlesome stings; my brother's foe and dock leaf friend.
Nets of winter morning frosts; stick slapped.
Fearful mother-die we dare not pick;
Of buttercups under chins; yellow-tinted.
Fresh frog-spawn and early death sticklebacks.
I count my time.
Fifty-five oak-ringed seasons;
The thick and thin of it.
Purple patched inner-tubes, coconut headed cricket balls,
And slack-stringed tennis.
Tin can, kick can
And washing line fever; to skip and whip.
With rattling roller skate and book we rode the road;
Beano and Dandy of 1966.
Bales of broken hay for den and king of castle;
The farmer's fiend.
With shotgun ready we ran in riot of crusted wheat and
Pit stack sludge; heavy footed.
Tyre swung tree and knacker stretched,
Sheafed knife and compass shoes;
Soles of badger and fox prints.
Stained snake belt, balaclava, and bigger sized willies
We smoked tab end finds; bolder now.
Spat and gozzed; measured our journey's spit.
Dobby and door knocked on mischievous night.
Ran the wind and rain;
Snow sledged our way to school, garrotted snow men
And toasted the sun with a lick of lemonade.