Canto CLIX

A group of kids huddle around a flame
outside the shops, I catch a waft of it
and must admit the combination’s strange:

the winter chill, the white rooves, building mist
and then the spiky aroma of skunk.
It strikes me as a monumental waste

of youth, on such a day as this you’d think
they’d be tobogganing down the steep hills
among the local hordes in Brockwell Park,

but that’s just me, forgetting the sheer hell
of adolescence, all that peer pressure
to sample the dullest, dead head buzz of all,

glazed eyes, giggling and the paranoia.
And if they tried this a mile down the road,
their plummy accents and their floppy hair

would mark them out as what they are, a load
of posh kids playing street kids, easy prey
for those in search of nearly new iPods.

I think of those old paintings that portray
the countless skaters on their local pond,
the hair thin brush strokes of that winter day

two hundred years ago. If one could scan
the figures close enough perhaps we’d see
a huddle of youths, backs turned to the fun,

a circle jerk of mutual misery.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. peter litton
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 11:07:09

    So much to think about here…
    I liked the change of voice in the stanza about the skaters and the way you brought the whole thing together in the final stanza and couplet…it was ever thus.


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