Friday Poem – ‘Almost but not quite there’, Rebecca Perry

Our Friday poem this week is ‘Almost but not quite there’ from little armoured by Rebecca Perry.

‘Almost but not quite there’ is an insightful and nostalgic poem which captures an early childhood memory of ‘running away’. The poem is a touching remembrance of a father’s patient teachings, and uses quietly intense imagery to describe, through a child’s eyes, the slow passing of time.
little armoured won the Poetry Wales Purple Moose Poetry Prize in 2011 and throughout the collection, Rebecca Parry’s dynamic and distinctive voice creates ‘exact and tender, smart and moving poems.’ (John McAuliffe)



Almost but not quite there

Running away never amounted to much.
My stuttering feet would not walk
farther than the third lamppost down,
chinking a lunchbox full of china gnomes
chipped from the last time.

My father would take me by the hand
and say, as he inched me nearer home,
sticking your head in the sand
does no one any good,
and where would we be
if we all behaved like ostriches?

Back then everything was as slow
as the setting of ice cubes, slow as the spins
of bakelite telephones,
slow as the sinking of a one-winged wasp in
a paddling pool,

slow as my father’s voice singing
a half remembered song about Lahore,
slow as the death of his mate Eddie
who used to drum for Status Quo,
whose handiwork still runs wires
through our house;

slow as the sinking in of his words,
like syrup pressing down into porridge,
after we got tear gassed in Tesco,
that you always need an arm free, an eye open,
a foot to the floor
and darling, remember this,
a tooth you could easily be without.



little armoured is available from the Seren website: £5.00
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