National Poetry Day

A poem I wrote a few years ago. About my Dad. Who died 15 years ago today.

French Sticks

In the rear view mirror, a figure appears                                                                               Catching us unaware.                                                                                                         Unfamiliar, tentative approach … then two, three, four of them.                                                My sister’s pen pal and his friends.                                                                                         All ‘ou est’s ‘ and ‘est ce que’s?’                                                                                          The writer of those flowery, foreign letters is here.                                                                  In our back street!

Dad, dirty hands, peers over the bonnet, directs them back the front way                             And sensing an emergency, is quickly on to it.                                                                        Me, dispatched to the market,                                                                                             ‘Be quick, it’s 5 already.                                                                                                 French sticks,                                                                                                                 They’ll like them.                                                                                                           Chicken legs and spring onions.’                                                                                          Best I can get.

Four French, young men peruse the front room                                                                        Of a terraced house,                                                                                                              All stretch covers and backless TV set.                                                                            Inadvertently listen to Dr Who                                                                                    fathoming the universe wisely,                                                                                          before Brucie sees us nicely                                                                                                 into a Saturday evening, somewhere in the late 1970s.

‘Ere is your food.                                                                                                                  You eat’. Dad sweeps his hands grandly.                                                                                We watch from the doorway,                                                                                                Our four new French guests                                                                                            attempt to tuck into their food                                                                                             and marvel at this mini, multi-cultural moment.                                                                  Their eyes on ours, one tries to speak,                                                                                  but the French sticks,                                                                                                              In his throat.

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