‘If yow dad wor a man,’ they told me
down at the Legion one Sunday races,
“‘ed ave wings, yow mark my words”
I looked across to where he stood,
and thought what I had always thought:
that everything about him
reminded me of the earth –
his shoulders of coal, his chest of slate.
Nothing about him longed for the sky
or so I had thought
until the night I saw him climb to the loft
to gather the birds up in his hands
to stroke their feathers with his thumb.
When he released them
I saw in his eyes a blinking wonderment
as if the coal had crumbled away
and he was seeing the world
for the very first time.
Poet for June