Author Archives: Robbie Burton

Only a winter’s tale

Only a winter’s tale

On stage, waiting for his cue
he knew he wouldn’t sound like David Essex
but stood there anyway.

Kids whispered in the wings.
Mums and dads sucked Polos beyond the lights.

He knew these things too
even though his eyes were fixed
on the twitch of the conductor’s baton.

He stopped thinking about his sweater,
the weightiness of wool and its tickle on his neck.

Then he started to sway to the uncertain rhythms
of drum, Hammond organ, bass and blood.

Neither he nor anyone knew
what would happen next.



Wrong turn


Wrong turn

Entering via the sea-lock
the seal knows nothing about
the Manchester Ship Canal. It knows
nothing about swing bridges bedded
in sandstone, and it certainly
knows nothing about boys standing
on towpaths. The same boys
who know nothing about the feel

of stones when an index finger hooks
around a top edge and a flat side is checked
by a thumb. They’ve never dropped one shoulder
before drawing back an arm. Or hurled
that arm forward to send a flat stone spinning.
They’ve never watched a stone skip… two three…
six seven… or felt the belly thrill of increased counting.

They only know one thing about stones.