The Long Path

Once, in Summer, when my father was a bear

And I was a Russian poem to imperfect youth,

The Sun came close to the Earth and we stripped

Down to trousers and wellington-boots to lay

A footpath in the tight garden of The Strand.

My father was young then, full in the wonder

Of manhood, muscle and the loneliness of men.

Unified by the sweat of work, we lightly touched

Some kind of understanding, no more or less.

At midday, Mrs Burke brought a jug of lemonade,

Profoundly cold, with deep-green islands of lime,

Thick and loose in the slob of melting icebergs.

At the hose, we washed away the abrasive dust,

Both our heads prematurely twinned in grey.

You are burnt to a crisp, my father said, pointing

To my back. Turning the crucified skin between

My shoulders, I cried out. All that afternoon,

In the chill of Burkes kitchen, overpowered

By camomile, I listened to the hired mixer beat

Sand and cement to concrete in its iron heart.



Ron Carey Poetry