Thursday, 4 January 2018

A poem by Robert Nisbet

Pairing for Life

The Brecon Beacons, 1990

I’m driving through a cold March countryside
to the schoolday’s work.
Above me two red kites,
with all the extravagance of height,
enact their courtship ritual, flying in,
turning, twisting. I’ve heard
they’ll often touch their talons.

School means for seven hours
the patterning of chalk and book,
till four, when Dilys the staffroom cleaner,
coffee cup akimbo below scarcely legal fag,
gives us great gobs of sentiment: The Sun,
these hippies in their communes
and, on the opposition benches,
those mythic characters we’ve never met.
There’s Her Old Man for one, good family man,
steady, and (he must be thirty now)
The Boy, who’s had his arse tanned many times
and works now, thriving, with the Water Board.

As I leave, I see again
two soaring kites,
sweeping before a grizzled mountainside,
high and aloof and, surely, exhilarated.

First appeared in Other Poetry, 4.2

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who does not see himself as unduly competitive but who has recently won the Prole Pamphlet Competition with his 35-poem collection, Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes, which has just appeared from

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