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Monday, November 12, 2018

The Sun on Danby Gardens by Dr. Keith Armstrong

The sun on Danby Gardens
smells of roast beef,
tastes of my youth.
The flying cinders of a steam train
spark in my dreams.
Across the old field,
a miner breaks his back
and lovers roll in the ditches,
off beaten tracks.
Off Bigges Main,
my grandad taps his stick,
reaches for the braille of long-dead strikes.


The nights
fair draw in
and I recall Joyce Esthella Antoinette
and her legs that reached for miles,
tripping over the stiles
in red high heels.
It was her and blonde Annie
who took me in the stacks
and taught me how to read
the signs
that led inside their thighs.
Those Ravenswood girls
would dance into your life
and dance though all the snowdrops
of those freezing winters,
in the playground of young scars.
And I remember freckled Pete
who taught me Jazz,
who pointed me to Charlie Parker
and the edgy bitterness of Brown Ale.
Mrs Todd next door
was forever sweeping
leaves along the garden path
her fallen husband loved to tread.
Such days:
the smoke of A4 Pacifics in the aftermath of war,
the trail of local history on the birthmarked street.
And I have loved you all my life
and will no doubt die in Danby Gardens
where all my poems were born,
just after midnight.

Keith Armstrong

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