Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Shirt-tails



Thanks to flickr for this photo which captures a sunrise a little like the one I describe in my poem posted below.

I wrote the poem at an informal poetry workshop that two other writer friends and myself have every month.

It's about walking to work early one morning last week just as the winter sun was rising in the east. The street was alive with all sorts of sights - the schoolboys sitting on a fence waiting for their bus were particualrly amusing - like boys that age worldwide, I imagine, they rejoice in casually wearing just their light cotton, school-uniform shirts in the freezing temps; refusing to wear regulation jackets or their warm, woollen school jersies. (I remember my sons were exactly the same - the jersey and jacket were never worn - what a waste of money!)

An early, winter morning is so dramatic I think - I tried to capture something of that here:


sky watch


All day the sky like a sleeping duck
hiding its head
inside its grey feathers
but not before burning
orange and blue, St Lee’s church spire
a black soldering iron
thrust into its cold fire.

I watch flames melt into grey
where the sky dips
and schoolboys without jackets
sit on fences, their shirtails
hanging out just one side.

17 comments:

Catherine said...

I enjoyed the poem, and the rest of the post. My children didn't seem to have the "no jersey" disease - they complained their jerseys weren't warm enough, wanted gloves etc for cycling to school.
I think it's colder up here than down there, this week

chiefbiscuit said...

Hi Catherine - You should be in bed - as should I!! You were lucky then to escape the 'no jersey' staunch attiude!

AnnieElf said...

I am surrounded by ducks at work everyday. I will never see a morning sky again without thinking of your lovely poem and the imagery of sleeping ducks and awaking sky.

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Loved the poem. It reminded me of some of the sunrises here. I like the shirttail image. :-)

Homey and dramatic.

Cailleach said...

I like 'sky watch'. The shirtails reminds me of swallows sitting on the electric lines at the back of the house, waiting to fly off for the winter.

School-boys are the same in Ireland too!

natalie said...

I like the image of the sky as a sleeping duck. :-) That seems to really get at winter's mood- a bit sleepy and snuggly.

My brothers have a bit of that "I'm-not-cold-I'm-tough!" attitude at the beginning of winter. Right now they're running around in shorts and bare feet, though. :-)

Clare said...

Great images - the duck, the cold fire, the poker, the one after the next - and those shirtails - a particularly strong ending.

Lynn said...

Damn, I love that first stanza. As a matter of fact, I love the second one, too. But the duck and the soldering iron are really working for me.

chiefbiscuit said...

annielf - Thanks! I love ducks!

cyn - Thanks - I bet you get sme glorious sunrises in the desert!

cailleach - so it's the irish influence then maybe ... the swallows on a fence image is a great echo!

natalie - Thanks - that's interesting about your brothers - I was pretty sure it'd be a worldwide staunch attitude!

clare - Thanks - it all fell together very quickly from recall

lynn - Thanks, you're a honey.

Colorsonmymind said...

This really conveys- that chilly feeling. I lovethe first and last few lines the best, but the poem is great.

Thanks for pointing out that it could be read bottom to top-funny I almost like it bettter that way:)

Great photo picks from flickr too.

Verity said...

Fantastic imagery! Wonderful.

chiefbiscuit said...

colorsonmymind - Thank you - often the mark of a good poem is if it can be read back to front!

verity - Ta V!

pepektheassassin said...

Oh, I love this poem! Now that we have been introduced (so to speak) I will visit you often.

One of my sons also taught English in Japan, in Osaka, for a couple of summers. This is where he met his Japanese wife. I now have 2 beautiful half-Japanese grandchildren. Also two beautiful half-Philippino grandchildren, and two blond Swedes. Another one coming soon! Aren't grandchildren fun! Yes, they all call me Grandma. I'm old.

I love APOD. Glad you like it also.
Thanks for visiting. Come back again.

Anil said...

I quite like the imagery where flames melt into grey, and shirttails hang out 'just one side'. Lovely poem.

chiefbiscuit said...

anil - Thanks so much, your comments are appreciated. :)

Pam in Tucson said...

I was just processing a photo of a sleeping Harlequin Duck - grey, black, orange, white and blue - seems to fit in nicely with your lovely poem. Wonderful image of the schoolboys.

chiefbiscuit said...

Pam - Sounds like it would fit perfectly!
Can't wait to see it ...

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