by David G. Thorne
There is a cinder path that leads to a pebble shore, where
Daddy taught me how to skim flat stones, when I was only four.
Where he sat me on his strong knee and said I must be very brave,
then told me he was leaving. That he was going away to war.
There is a cinder path that leads to a village school, where
I first kissed Jacquie on the lips, and thought I was so cool.
Panting hand in hand to her front door, not feeling very brave,
we dashed upstairs to her room. Giggling at her parent’s “no boys” rule.
There is a cinder path that leads to a cancer ward,
where my mother’s shrivelled husk lay weeping, clutching my get-well card.
She said I have to go my darling boy, you must be very brave,
then a nurse drew the curtain. Like some tawdry peppermint green shroud.
There is a cinder path that leads to a factory wall, where
I puffed my last cigarette and realised, like latter day Saint Paul.
I must forsake these indolent grey boondocks, I would be very brave,
head for the Bright Lights, Big City. Or stay and achieve sweet sod all.