To begin with, my mother was more than a little apprehensive of my writing poems. She dreaded finding herself published inside one of them. When one of my earliest publications turned out to be "Visiting the Corset Maker", her apprehension seemed well founded.Fortunately a friend of her's, who also visited the corset maker, liked the poem and her regard shifted.
However, she really did like "The Country Boy"; and though she occasionally wondered why I can't always write happy,pleasant poems, this poem convinced her that she could let me out with a biro in my hand.
When she had died I found her copy of "Sunfire" with press cuttings cellotaped in, and realised how proud she was of the book.
So for mother's day:
The Country Child.
The country child
runs in and out of rain showers
sees the snake-patterns in trains,
the sun's sword-play in the hedges
and the confetti in falling elder blossoms;
knows the humming in the telegraph poles
as the hedgerow's voice
when tar bubbles are ripe for bursting;
watches bees emerge from the caverns
at the centres of buttercups,
feels no end to a daisy chain,
feels no end to an afternoon;
walks on ice though it creaks;
sees fish among ripples and names them;
is conversant with berries
and hides behind thorns;
slips down leaves, behind stones;
fills his hands with the stream
and his hair with the smell of hay;
recognizes the chalkiness
of the weathered bones of sheep,
the humour in a rusted fence,
the feel of the white beards that hang there.
The country child
sees a mountain range where blue clouds
are heaped above the horizon,
sees a garden of diamonds
through a hole scraped
in the frost patterns of his bedroom window
and sees yet another world
when tints of cerise and ochre
streak the evening sky.
He knows no end, at night
he sneaks glimpses of Heaven
through the moth-eaten carpet of the sky.