Poetry Preview

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Poetry Preview

Postby Chris » 04 Oct 2009, 19:32

John Alexander sent me this Guy Richardson poem for the website. It will appear as one of Punch's Scrapbook Snippets - but I thought you would like a preview.
"I was the Yarmouth Punch Man;<br>
I'll tell you about my day on<br>
The beach, from early 'til late;<br>
Say a fine day in August, sixty-eight.</p>

<p>I come down, to the beach in fresh morning;<br>
Under the wall's a row of rough sleepers, faces <br>
Broad red, screwed shut to the sun;<br>
Later, they're gone.</p>

<p>The red-yellow hut's unlocked, proscenium unblocked, <br>
Windbreaks untangled, unfolded, deck-<br>
Chairs latched (like setting out the patio, but more so.) <br>
Chalk up the times of the show.</p>

<p>Ten minutes to go, children start hovering round; <br>
I toll the bell, walking over the sand: <br>
"Roll up, roll up, take your places now, <br>
Don't miss the Punch and Judy show".</p>

<p>The show itself? Well, it's still<br>
The same; Punch and his stick, Judy, baby, crocodile;<br>
Thumping, shouting, with Punch 's voice shrill<br>
In traditional style.</p>

<p>I'm the invisible engine,<br>
Plunging my hand in the sack<br>
Of an upside-down puppet, raising it up. Story line<br>
Revised each moment by the kids' calls back.</p>

<p>While I sweat through my tricks <br>
My cocky assistant, a lad of fifteen, <br>
Threads the crowd with collecting box, <br>
"Don't forget, don't forget the Punch man".</p>

<p>After the show we count copper and silver <br>
Up in the cafe; they're glad of the change<br>
&nbsp;And so am I, for a while incognito, <br>
Proscenium blank, a resting maestro.</p>

<p>Time for a swim and a sandwich; then <br>
My children are fractious, yawning; <br>
Windbreaks and towels make a tent we recline <br>
In the radiant gloom of an awning.</p>

<p>Two o'clock's the big show; there's another at three.<br>
So the hot afternoon wears on<br>
Nearby, some steel worker lads from Corby<br>
Borrow my spade, build a huge sand dragon.</p>

<p>I keep hold of the string of the crowd's balloon<br>
With a treasure-hunt: sweets in the sand;<br>
Or with stilts or games: finding lucky stones<br>
That have holes right through them - a prize for the best ones<br>
With the stones we lay out a spiral<br>
And folk of all ages traipse round it;<br>
They all end up trapped in the middle,<br>
Laughing, and clinging together - no exit!</p>

<p>The afternoon sweats; sand sticks; sun glares in <br>
Flickering as Punch's stick threatens him.<br>
The Corby lads sprawl with beer cans, badgering passers-by. <br>
They've had enough of the beach; so have I.</p>

<p>They kick up their dragon, I'll pack it in too; <br>
But a tail of late folks snakes up: "On no! <br>
Too late for the show?" My arms like lead<br>
I raise them a final time above my head.</p>

<p>Guy Richardson '96</p></blockquote>
It's good to squawk!
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