Hours passed languid as the flap of a hawk’s wing
in a last July before the awkward initiations
of fifteen and lifts to far-afield jiving.
He’d work for an uncle, cutting hay, fixing
shingles with bradawls and hot, smoking pitch —
evenings, hung round with fairground hands
till the sideshows lit at eight. Then he’d sidestroke
from the main pier, alone, on a full tide as far
as the bobbing Perpetua, its line of cork floats
with dock and fairground small as a snow-bubble town,
bull-horns carrying Frank Ifield’s When the angels ask
me to recall out across a calm, irredentist blackness.