Rees Arnott-Davies (Commended)
Pimlico School, London
I remember the cockerel feather –
The burnt colour of crude oil and coal powder –
You found it in the hillside for me, at least
Seven years ago, now. Maybe we’d gone up as a dare –
Or perhaps to pass the time. Most
Probably to see the rain-struck estuary,
Less fierce than under the holiday
Sun, naked without the usual boats, untouched almost
By that violence the sea seems to possess. And in the sedge
Sat this wingless feather, fixing it to my head
You called it my crest, called me a little chieftain.
At the hilltop you put me on your back, let
My fingers clutch your neck and grope the rain,
Trying for what lay beyond the clouds.
Even then I heard the notes of death crowd out
Your throat. Before going back you pointed out the heron
Angling like a quaver in the water.
You thought that I’d forgotten? Well I haven’t.
Something else I remember (but would never dare mention)
Is the day three years ago we found you sat on the Severn
Bridge, too scared to jump for fear of falling,
Crying calmly into your snow white fingertips,
Holding my cockerel feather to your eyes to dry the tears.
Today I threw it in the oven – watched it flare up like the past.
- Date February 5, 2015
- Tags 2007 Flight - Winning Poems