Great Uncle Neville smoked 40 a day,
lived far from the coast
in a smokestack Yorkshire town,
where Tarby once passed through,
and the humpback spine of backyard rows
kept the old and infirm in a world outside of time.
One day in the sun, with his horn-rimmed bride,
he paid us a call, our angel from the north,
and we took a trip to the seaside town
we would make our own,
once the curtains were hung
and the house on the hill
raised from mud.
The streets were named after birds,
and we had taken flight, it was true,
and would do so again: Osprey, Hawk,
Kingfisher Close. And how close it all was
in the heat and the dust, how close
shepherd's isle just o'er the Swale,
how close, how faraway,
the Halcyon nest.
Foundations laid, our consecrating steps
traced imagined interiors in our
home on the hill, overlooking the sea,
where the lawns were grown from seed,
and Uncle Neville, in his Sunday best,
checked the air in his tyres,
and smiled as the gulls swooped down
and out across the bay.