On seeing Bredon
I used to sneak into my parents’ room
in Hinton-on-the-Green and root around
the dusty fluff on dressing table tops
and sense unmentionable stuff in drawers.
Then as the sixties spread their thighs
and I grew bold, I rifled tallboys on a whim
and seized what I’d been searching for:
the Penguin edition, orange, a phoenix
leaping from the flames
among the lacy underwear.
My mother’s smuggled copy of the book
seemed to cock a snook at father’s Bible,
black and gold and splayed
upon the bedside table.
On hearing creaking stairs,
I thrust rough Mellors back
among the petticoats with Constance
and with no time to scuttle to my room,
leant elbows on the window sill instead
to worship Bredon in the summer dusk.
My father seemed to find this plausible.
Now, as my life of adult subterfuge
and sin chugs in from Paddington once more
and Bredon Hill comes back into my view,
I venerate that sly old crocodile again,
complicit, half-exposed and basking in its sea of green,
jaws still gently menacing the Combertons.
Sharon Larkin’s work appears in anthologies (Cinnamon, Eyewear); magazines (Prole, Obsessed with Pipework) and on-line (Ink, Sweat & Tears, Clear Poetry). She runs Cheltenham Poetry Café, chairs Cheltenham Poetry Society, edits Good Dadhood, has a CW MA and loves Wales. Website: http://sharonlarkinjones.wordpress.com