As this blog is only four months old, a more limited review seems appropriate.
I've already reprised the three most viewed poems from my inaugural month, September, so here are the most popular ones from October, November and December respectively.
We started out with cocoa tins
attached by string:
of sorts; progressed to proper phones,
old army surplus; wired them up
and strung a line from my bedroom,
to yours next door.
We formed a link
that bound us fast through teenage years:
fifth form, sixth form, till,
on you went to uni, I to unsought work.
Where you were cerebral and gauche,
I was the opposite, and yet
we hit it off: no other friend,
before or since, meant half so much.
In those strange, final months, we seemed
to drift apart: you went away
and I, in turn,
went elsewhere too.
Estranged at twenty-one, we were.
You didn’t live to twenty-two.
Your picture, pale, in newsprint grim,
beside the stark facts of your death,
remains my image of you now
a half a century away.
My vanished childhood friend,
you look so innocent,
so fresh of face:
forever in a state of grace.
or plastic gun, the barrel jammed
with plasticine; or floppy doll with thinning hair
and one eye lost, but loved the more for that;
or broken car or grounded aeroplane;
or arrow without bow or single table tennis bat.
In age, I am diminished to have none of these,
no childhood keepsake still,
to resurrect for comfort, when sad or ill at ease;
or handle with a wistfulness, or proudly reminisce
to you, child of my own child,
how once a threadbare tiger was the object of my bliss.
CHRISTMAS DAY 1914
Out of the trenches stepped one man,
a truce flag held above his head,
then from the other side was waved
a cloth and word was quickly spread.
From blackened ground, like seeds, they grew
to cover those disputed lands:
a khaki crop mingled with grey,
cautious at first, then shaking hands.
Gifts were exchanged, tobacco, smiles.
Creased photographs were shyly shown.
Then, from a trench that frosty day,
a leather soccer ball was thrown.
The goalposts were four bayonets.
A match was played in friendly style
by muddy boys, for boys they were.
War was forgotten for a while.