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.




July 2013