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Terry Collett Jul 2019
You showed Lizbeth
the empty cottage
down the country lane.

Maybe we can get in
some how
and do it there,
she said.

You looked at
the overgrown garden:
I couldn't do that,
you said.

Not do what
get in or do it ?
she said.

Neither of them,
you said.

Why not?
it can't be that hard
to get inside,
and surely
you like ***,
she said.

A goldfinch flew
to the apple tree
and made noise.

Rooks flew above
and around
the tall trees.

I won't break
into the cottage,
nor have ***,
you said.

She pouted her lip:
Why are we here, then?
she asked.

(When I came with Jane
a few weeks ago,
we looked around
the outside
talking about one day
marrying someone
and living there.

We also looked
at the various birds
in the garden.)

Just to show you
the cottage
and see what birds
there are,
you said.

She looked bored:
I didn't cycle
all the way here
to look at this
empty cottage
and look at ****** birds,
she said.

I didn't ask you
to cycle out here,
you said.

She sighed
and gazed
at the garden.

Maybe you should
come into town,
she said.

Too far to walk,
and there is only a bus
on Saturday morning,
you said.

You can cycle,
she said.

I haven't a bike,
you replied.

She didn't know
what to say.

I get the coach
to school
on weekdays,
you said.

After a few minutes
we walked up the lane
to where
she parked her bike.

See you at school,
Monday,
she said.

She rode off
and didn't look back.

You watched until
she was out of sight
and then you went back
to the shed to help
your father saw up logs.

Far off you heard
cows moo,
and the barking of dogs.
Terry Collett Jul 2019
She talks to you
of birds
and butterflies.

She holds a wren's egg
in the middle
of her pink palm.

You touch
the fragile egg shell,
the sensation
of your finger
on the smooth shell,
her skin inches
from the tip
of your finger.

She moves the egg
in her palm
to show the blue shell;
you watching
her finger move,
wishing she
would move
with yours,
or hands holding close
against her thigh,
looking eye to eye.
Terry Collett Aug 2018
I walked beside the cowman across grass
Sodden by the morning dew. "What do you
Want to do when you leave school?" He asked me.

"Want to be a cowman like you," I said.

He stared at me sideways on."No, my lad,
You want to get yourself a proper job."

He said no more and disappeared inside
His farm cottage tied to the farm estate.

I walked on puzzled by his blunt reply.
I was, as he knew, a London boy, fresh
From the smoke and crowded streets, not used to
The way of the countryside and manners.

In my bedroom, in a glass case, I kept
Bird's eggs, chalk fossils, and a rabbit's skull
Salvaged from the woodland floor on the Downs.

Hanging from the ceiling by bits of string
A model Spitfire moved in the wind.

And taped to the walls were pictures of tanks
Or racing cars with all the parts numbered,
And a chalk model of a Crusader
With sword and shield with red cross of St George.

From my window I could see the whole farm
Where I'd been to fetch the milk before school.

Maybe I'd not work on the farm at all.
Autobiographical poem. I loved the farm and worked there after school and at weekends for free. But we moved away and I worked as my first job in a garage in 1963.
Terry Collett Aug 2018
I remember that summer,
one day in particular,
we were lying in the tall grass,
she and I, holding hands,
and she naming
each butterfly or bird
that flew above our heads
in the blue blue of sky.

That's a Comma,
she said, and that's
a Small Copper,
and the butterflies
would flutter past
over head.

A tractor sounded
from a further field.

Birds sang;
a pheasant called.

I watched the flight
of a Sparrowhawk above us
and it hovered there
seemingly ages,
then dived out of sight
to ****** its prey.

She turned
and we kissed.

Lips on lips,
soft, gentle,
not pushed
nor rushed,
but soft landed
like a butterfly,
natural not lustful,
not knowingly,
but so shy.
Terry Collett May 2018
Gale said
"Who's the red head
looking this way?"

We were in
the boy's playground
gazing over
at the girl's playground.

Lizbeth had seen me
and was gazing at us.

Another girl
stood with her
taller
brunette.

"I know her vaguely"
I said.

"Wonder if her bush
is the same colour?"
he said
peering through
the wire mesh fence.

"No idea"
I replied.

I lied.

A few months before
trying to ****** me
in her room
while her mother
was out
she had
stripped off naked
to stir me up.

But I was too
concerned
of her mother's return
to lust or burn.

She waved to me
and I waved back.

Then she
and the other girl
walked away.

We watched them leave.

I thought of her naked
that time
a few months ago.

What Gale was thinking
inside his head
I didn't know.
Terry Collett May 2018
There is a slow
deliberation
on the *******
before the mirror
in your room
the slow removal
piece by piece
until you are down
to your underwear
and bra.

You stand
there gazing
looking at
the mirrored
bed behind
imagining
Benny was there
giving you the eye.

But he isn't of course
just your wanting
him there
gazing at your
strip-show
with his hazel eyes.

Your clothes lie
where they fell.

You pretend
he is cheering you on
commenting on your
revealed flesh
and shape.

Downstairs your mother
is preparing dinner
the radio pushing out
some Mendelssohn.

You sigh
and pick up
the fallen clothes
and stack them neat
and dress in
after school clothes
bit by bit
knowing Benny
isn't there to see.

Your mother calls you
like a laboured cow
and you guess you'll
eat the dishes up dinner
somehow.
Terry Collett Apr 2018
The Downs
were covered in snow
and the sky
dull and grey.

I made my way
up to the farm
carrying the green
plastic jug
for the morning milk.

I didn't think
I'd see you that day
not with the snow
and you living
at the other end
of the hamlet.

I walked up the narrow path
between the high hedgerows
and along the deep snow
towards the dairy.

I hoped the black
one-eyed dog
wouldn't come and bark
or snap at my heels or arm.

Cows mooed
from the milking shed.

I sensed the cold
biting at my fingers
as I entered the dairy.

Mr Andrews poured
milk into my jug.
"Snow arrived then"
he said as if undecided.

"Yes deep in places"
I said.

He nodded
and turned away
back to his tasks.

I left and walked
back the way I had come
balancing the jug
in case I slipped.

I thought of you
lying in your bed
snuggled up beneath
sheets and blankets
wearing a winter nightdress
hugging your form
thinking of me
out in this cold
and snow
wishing I was there
with you
doing what
we wanted to.
Terry Collett Apr 2018
I pictured you
that evening
after our first kiss

standing by your window
looking out
at the moon and sky

and stars
undressed
ready for bed

your sister asleep
in the bed behind
and I pictured me there

behind you
my hands around your waist
my breath

on your naked neck
whispering words
into your ear

but you turned around
and I wasn't there
just in my imagination

and maybe yours
and I pictured you
making your way

to the bed
beside your sleeping sister
snuggling down

between covers
imagining I was there
and we were lovers.
Terry Collett Apr 2018
That was one of the things
you left behind.

That memory
of the first kiss.

It came quite suddenly
like an Autumn shower
or like a secret
no one knew
just that kiss
between me and you.

Now I can rerun it
like an old movie
in black and white
and try and captured
the emotions then
and how it felt
and why.

But you are dead now
and gone before your time
as the saying goes
and of all my memories
that would be the one
I'd choose
of all of those.

I remember the moonlight
and the stars in the sky
and the others nearby
singing Christmas songs
or carols as they're called
and their voices
carried on the wind
and you and I
hugging and kissing
and never
having sinned.
Terry Collett Apr 2018
Lizbeth sits
at dinner
her mother

sits across
the table
her father

on her right.
"How was school?"
Mother asks

eyeing her.
"The school *****,"
Lizbeth says

looking down
at the plate
of beef stew.

Her mother
stares at her.
"What do you

mean by *****?"
Her father
says nothing

as usual.
"Waste of time,"
Lizbeth says,

"brain washing
us with ****."
Father chokes

on his beef.
"That's enough
of that kind

of language,"
Mother says.
Lizbeth wants

Benny up
in her room
stark naked

lying there
on her bed.
"You go there

so they can
educate
all of you,"

Mother moans.
Lizbeth stops
listening

let's the words
go over
her young head

like dark birds.
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