Poem of the Month: March 2008

A difficult poem, on a difficult subject, I often write in the first person to explore the life, mind and story of my central character. 

defenceless in the sun of his regard 

Myself in a photograph at five,
smiling into the camera
wearing the grey clothes of fifties’ children,
no trace of infant rape
of bruised and wakened sexuality
in the curled collar of the flannel shirt
the submerged twinkle
of the unprescribed for, myopic eyes. 
No sign of the romping games
where I was caught
and made to feel helpless.
Where, laughing out of fear,
I was rolled
like an insect on its back,
or a blind mole,
defenceless in the sun of his regard. 
The verbal contract to which I assented
and which bound me in silence for years
‘You won’t tell anyone will you?’
For it was a long courtship from three to eight
ending mysteriously,
when he moved on to another. 
It began
with a simple sitting on his knee,
perhaps watching television,
leaning into a larger warmer body.
A heartbeat against my ear,
a sense of safety encircled by his arm
as we sat.
A family doing family things.
At least that’s how it began for me
I don’t know
it began for him. 

© James M Nash (Coma Songs, Grassroots Press, 2003)