NaPoWriMo Day 23

The prompt today (which you can read here) is to write a poem that responds to a poem you have read and liked.

I am responding to Gillian Clarke’s lovely poem Landscape with Farm. I think the poem captures that moment when you see something and respond deeply, and then slowly realise there is a deeper memory being evoked, one you maybe don’t want to relive. So you shake it off. Walk on. I’ve tried to capture that feeling in this poemyprosy piece to get something up today, and I think I will then develop it as a poem.


He’s on every High Street as day eases into dusk; blind-sad drunk, ill-fitting jacket, tottering and swaying, whoa! Nearly over that time, fella, steady on; you watch as he grabs at invisible walls to the left, the right, of the actual brick walls. Face stunned, meat-red, too long in the pub swilling payday beers, amber chasers, early finish Friday is the best of days. You hang back, forced to slow down to his elliptical pace, don’t want to pass, might spook him into a full-flat, slabbed fall. His feet step airily, they doubt solid ground. Another woman passes, catches your eye, smiles, but you feel the question prod inside: will affable clownishness switch, indoors? A small kitchen, a dry dinner between two plates, set on top of a steaming pan. Will words thicken, land heavy? Will fists follow? You traipse behind, his rotten-fruit sweat trails back across evening air; and now you hear half-remembered tales in your ears, someone one you loved, their dad, the yelling, a frustrated singer who never got the breaks, she said (and there’s always a reason, but never an excuse as the fists rain down and the voice notches higher). Now, this is enough. You speed up, cross the street, leave this unfulfilled and unfillable man, the poor sod encased to his neck in his habit, in blinkers; awake, but senseless; alive, but dying. Walk faster now, get home, put on the telly, lock the door. Don’t let it in.

Image in header: Photo by Tembela Bohle on

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