To let in light
An outside toilet with daylight only,
a shed made from galvanise and old boards,
housing coal, potatoes and tools such as saws
and axes. These took up most of the yard.
And I can see my mother through the back
window still making rhubarb tarts. And the rusty
old paint tins she kept her plants in; geranium,
wild rose, hydrangea and a crowd of sprightly
wall-flowers, bright yellow, mauve ballerinas
dancing on the top of the wall. Every clinging
web that still amazes on frosty mornings,
though I'm never there now. The yard was narrow,
seemed long as a lane, like a road leading to a cliff.
Standing at the back wall at full tide was like
standing on the down side of a dam. Shadow
and light were permanent parts of old doors
and boards, changing only when a ball went
missing or a mouse moved. I loved each jutting
rock; each hole and crevice down to the back wall
and river. And the quays, the backs of houses on the
far side like the back of a film street-set.
There were stones and flowers, images in glass,
a mound of surplus sand and those winter nights
as a child I'd sit in the cold outside toilet
listening to the sounds of the night.
A tomcat crying, the wind making its own
night noises; terrified but never giving in,
my imagination plucking images
out of the dark and my left leg holding
the door half-open in order to let in light.
By Pat GalvinQLRS Vol. 12 No. 2 Apr 2013