Thursday, 30 March 2017

A poem by Belinda Rimmer

Swindon Sky

Stop before you say Swindon is a cold,
heartless place to grow up.
I remember warm friends,
all of us misfits, strangers together.
Chatter came in every accent:
Romany Gypsy (they'd settled on the wasteland),
Cockney and Geordie too.
Play still brightened our days:
Kiss Chase, My Mother Said,
What's the Time Mr Wolf.

Between rows of new houses,
we built dens with discarded bricks,
felt connected to our urban landscape.
Peering down on our estate,
like a heron watching a tiddler,
Marlborough Downs -
a welcome shadow to green our grey.

While our new school got built,
we learnt in temporary classrooms,
newly erected and smelling of paint.
Scholarly words bounced off walls
and balanced on our heads,
toppled away before we'd caught them.
Those of us who cared,
read books.

In those days no one starved.
If our fathers got laid off the railways,
they found new jobs in factories.

Many of us never left.

I rarely go back now
except to visit Coate Water.
Her lake, woods, pathways;
promise of sky.

About Belinda
I have worked as a psychiatric nurse and school counsellor, taught dance/drama, creative writing and poetry in schools, and for a time lectured at a local university. My poems have appeared in various magazine, including Sarasvati, Dream Catcher, Brittle Star (pending) ARTEMISpoetry and The Broadsheet. Some have been published online - Ground, Open Mouth, Writers Against Prejudice, and I have poems in two anthologies. I enjoy writing short stories (but not as much as poetry) and recently won the Gloucestershire award for the Cheltenham Story Prize for a story about our infamous Banksy painting.

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