Thursday, 3 May 2018

A poem by Robert Nisbet

Dormitories


We read of them as boys, the Bunters, the Etonians,
the midnight feasts. We never really envied them.

Later there were many other bastions.
Wet socks slapped to the changing room floor,
the Clarbie Seconds’ football team, hot tubs
for dousing mud, then down to the Picton Inn.
A couple of grammar school masters’ staff rooms,
where the crustacean elderly and those, like me,
crabby before their time, sat be-gowned.

In a university hall at Clyne, I roomed with Dai,
and come eleven, twelve, my metaphysical poets
and Dai’s engineering were packed off for the evening.
We got to our beds, last fag, and the slow review
of days that played out the rhythms of a tango,
others measured like a professorial fugue.
We surveyed girls and pubs and gamesmanship.
Dai brought off-colour jokes from the Welsh Society,
then he was suddenly asleep. I lingered, wakeful,
for a while, as Clyne Castle, on a hill above a bay,
would strew night’s rain or a silvered moonlight
around my wondering head.

At ten and seven years old, I and my brother lay
in our bedroom in the well-named Merlin’s Crest.
I told each night a meandering fable (based,
I now suspect, on The Beano and Lord Snooty’s Pals)
of boys and games and trips and motorbikes.
A yarn, a thread, which ran for years.
A tale of mornings and the crests of hills.









Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet whose work has been widely published in Britain and the USA, with occasional forays into Canada, Ireland, India and Mauritius. His short collection Robeson, Fitzgerald ad Other Heroes, has just appeared from Prolebooks.

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