2. CW’s poems to AL

April 30, 2018

The Pigs, by Chris Walsh

I grew up in a small industrial town

on the edge

of moorland.

Farms,

and plenty of pigs.

 

At school the dinner ladies said

what we didn’t eat

what we scraped

into the bucket

was given to pigs; their swill.

 

I accepted this

glad the pigs could tuck in

to turkey and roasties,

spotted dick and custard,

endless lumpy mash.

 

I must have been about thirty-five

at a conference

when I made small talk at lunch;

The vegetables are tasteless.

The pigs will have a field day.

 

What pigs?

asked my colleague.

You know, I said

the pigs who get the leftovers.

 

He laughed and wandered off.

My God, I’d carried the notion for thirty years!

Jolly famers.

Smiling suns, pink pigs.

A time-capsule of the mind.

 

I walked over

to a tinted window

and watched trucks

thumping up The Marylebone Road.

Then I delivered my own plate to the hatch.

 

Paradigm, by Chris Walsh

We were sixteen

sat by his parents’ pond

beneath their oak tree.

 

I told him humanity had lived

past itself,

said it was a bit

like the notion of peak oil

and the reason American cars

were so big in the 1970s.

 

Aren’t Americans just big?

asked my friend.

 

I told him they were,

but it wasn’t why the cars were big.

 

That was down to oil.

 

I wasn’t sure if I’d made it up.

 

We were silent.

 

Then I said the goalposts had moved

but we didn’t know it.

 

My friend nodded

picked up an acorn

and tossed it

into the pond.

 

I said the hard-won lessons

of history

had vanished into thin air

but we didn’t miss them

because we’d forgotten to miss them.

I said there had been a paradigm-shift

To end all paradigm-shifts

My dad had told me about Thomas Kuhn over the washing up..

 

I was about to explain

the meaning of the word

Paradigm

but my friend’s mum shouted him.

His tea was ready.

 

What are we having!? yelled my friend

 

Fish fingers! came the reply

 

He got up,

but paused,

said he understood

the bit about goalposts.

 

You do? I asked.

 

He nodded

said some kids had recently moved

the goalposts in the local park.

 

Then he went inside.

 

I got up

and climbed

their massive oak tree

limb by limb,

stuck my head out the top.

 

In the distance

I could see yellow

fields rolling away

to sea cliffs.