Walkley History

News, events and discoveries of the Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars history project.

The usual dare

takes me between the backs
of my street and the next,
crouching by bins, against outhouses,
dodging the twin tub, the radiogram,

old paint and pram. On edge
to hear, from one second to the next,
a shout from a kitchen, or Mrs Dwyer,
pegs in her mouth and a sheet half folded.

But this is the last day, and the big gear
lines up on Daniel Hill, diggers, wreckers,
wagons for brick and old timber.
Kitchens are cold and sheets in boxes.

Backs are turned as I slide from one year
into the next and drop to a street
with no cobbles, strange shops
and new houses, pastry-thin.

“Tommy!” I want to shout, but there’s dust
in my mouth and his forfeit’s to kick
his heels in the stammer of the pulveriser
and the rush of rubble into trucks.

Hugh Waterhouse


One comment on “The usual dare

  1. Lynn Rishworth
    November 8, 2013

    Clever ‘echoes’ of words to evoke nostalgia, which turns to something else with the exclamation of the last verse.

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