By: Stephen Kingsnorth
David Frank Kingsnorth, 19 January 1946 – 23 June 1947
The Happiest day of the year is June 23 according to a recent study
completed by the Cardiff University in Wales
It is his birthday, David Frank,
seventy three, still curly hair,
before ever I was born
in this black and white hold,
hiding his bluey-grey-greeny eyes,
peering from the bale wire fence,
the flourished pasture there before, on the other side
for restless, breathless, seeking calming peace.
Unclear hazy blurred his hand, mouth ponder, or
out reaches, maybe pointing, appealing, beckoning,
despite his sun-drenched fore,
the question, is there something more?
The field may yet be home to meadowsweet,
asphodel, celandine, cowslips,
violas, hearts-ease, primrose, forget-me-not,
with gorse as edging scrub, and
skylarks, high flung, soaring specks,
calling birds, two yellow beaked with mates,
there to dance a jig with him,
a picnic with the teddy bears.
This grass-laid tasselled shawl,
with long-suffering babe amongst the press,
the rumpled tartan rug his throne,
are creases cause to fly away,
or flapping in a storm the norm?
This misshapen baby, King’s Denmark born,
for fifteen hours awaits his Mum,
then slapped to wake, for offered feed.
Stenosis curse of first born male,
infantile eczema soon follows on,
then cow protein poison add to list,
then asthma, fight and fight for breath.
The epipen had not been found,
adrenalin injection scared the child,
mother only faced the challenge,
anaphylaxis close at hand.
Coal’s last bucket supplanted by
special shipment, Sabbath morn;
and soya ration hangs, till grocer
rescues with under counter reach.
June storm with heat stark drop
spells disaster for the lad.
Rolled in this cradle, on a roll
to flying carpet, who set course
to distant space where breathe with ease,
no irritant from milk of promised land.
The briefest journey, no greater rôle,
enabling love by those who live,
as floral tribute card recites
“With love to bravest little man”.
Ration shared by next door folk
who had not spoken past six years,
came to dandle, next day he died,
so they again the neighbour comes.
Served a purpose, healed much strife.
The cot was moved to lodgers’ room
for boy on rug moved through the wire;
though curly hair and reaching hand
I still see from resting place, for framed
is sun-drenched face in silver heart.
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had pieces accepted by some thirty on-line poetry sites, including Literary Yard; and Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry, The Dawntreader, Foxtrot Uniform, The Writer’s Café, Twisted Vine, A New Ulster Poetry Magazines, Vita Brevis Anthology ‘Pain & Renewal’ & Fly on the Wall Press ‘Identity’.