For Dave Wilkinson 1968 – 2001
With the quiet Memories of summer fields, tree houses, and playing
On the tow-path, of jam sandwiches for tea on Mondays,
There I was poring over them at my old borrowed table,
these poems and half-written songs
Half-nibbled novels and assorted paraphernalia, gathered
Over the years and still waiting to be housed or dusted,
Everything previously considered poetic has become,
Twelve years on, naturally prosaic and intrinsically plain.
Like how you paused half-way through a poem on parallel
Universes, a long one indeed which needed a fair amount
Of concentration, deserving its own smooth shiny volume,
With a peeping picture of you on the front, laughing now, as you were then,
And of course the blurb on the back. The bit about how you
Can create High Art out of everyday objects and make
Stained glass out of jam jars.
And how you lived free
In the poetry capital of the north.
It was never known as
Anything that grand when I lived there,
I can’t help but think back to a time when you were not quite
A poet, but almost certainly poetic, mystified
In your flapping white granddad shirts, worn jeans,
Knackered pumps, your old canvas bag, stuffed with paperbacks,
And the casual way you used the word blasé.
You were all that was bohemian and ‘On the road’,
Even before I understood such concepts, remembering
No word or warning the punch inside, the pained look
How cancer felt, here having late night conversations
With you, hoping I’ll see you again ‘on the road’ one day.