I watched, fascinated, at each Stag standing,
legs splayed wide, chest expanding,
one hand playing pocket billiards,
the other cupping an imperial panetella,
or the odd ***-end of a king-sized silk cut.
I watched each **** strutting, squinting
against the improbably impressive smoke signals
emanating from a side grimace, indicating
not just contemplation of past glories,
and an absent kin,
but a surprising level of self-congratulation
and not solo signals, but a tribe-wide cloud of pride,
bellowing in resonance, creating a crescendo of
'you just know they would have loved this'
coupled with an elaborate semaphore display
that would put any plume of peacocks to shame.
My family gathered to mark their history,
to reinforce a crucial coupler of family territory,
to shout their quiet authority like ancient royalty,
as monarchs of this urban manor, their laughter
rising in assumptive victory, leaving no doubt
that this clan would face all future threats
with no more than 'a quiet word'
and a micro-assertion of their claim
over their ancestral turf.
I watched my forever-family,
my forever-England, planted secure
in my ever-after summer,
on this once green, scorched earth.
strong images from my teens - back when family loomed large