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||Edwin Drood's Column
||22 October 2013
|Hugh Featherstone gallops home.|
|Legend of the turf
Taken on the average, life's race
has not been over hard with you
a wife, who etched into your skin
an alphabet of patience, took to gin
and stepped down early from the role
of martyr she'd inscribed upon her face
Her only son, perhaps from gratitude
kept calm when handling your demands
the envelopes were leniently plump
when your nag finished once more in the rump
and cheques to still the see-saw shelf
whose bottle slid continually out of reach
were welcome too, and neither did he preach
when blowsy hags grew stroppy or importunately
loud beneath your balcony, nor was he ever proud
but pumped your hand at Christmas as you did his purse
although he owed you nothing - not being kin -
but family nonetheless, a man, and good
Today he's quit of you, yet cries to see
his own lack of rebellion mocked by one
now laid in earth, the lid screwed down
on his own youth, all gone as never lived
diligent son of two profligate fathers
barely known by them, a grown-up whipping boy
whose own wife sits at home, triumphant, yes
but strangely sad to see him so cast down
by you, whose every breath meant trouble
every call a cry for help. I guess she knew
you'd do a midnight bunk to play the form below
your beloved turf, the legend sure at last
Though not all the women were that fast
nor all the horses slow
he'll come home drunk
for the first and only time tonight
she'll turn a blind eye too, though not
a blinkered one, and be his ersatz mother
and he'll be her loving son, while you
still wait beneath the hallowed sod to pay
the slate you've chalked up with your God
From Bird under water, a selection of poems by Hugh Featherstone
© Hugh Featherstone
Another poem from this selection will appear next time the Drood's away.
The Bird under water homepage includes a foreword by Hugh Featherstone
and a linked list of the poems as they appear.
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