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Creosote

A poem by Jayne Winterbone

Eternally young, the ancient wooden shed lovingly enveloped

year after year, layer upon layer, with treacle-thick

Creosote. The acrid bonfire-smell of it permeating the old pram,

vacant birdcage, paraffin stove, cobwebs, and tattered curtains.

 

Grandad, flat-cap on head, old suit and wellies, smelling of cows and Brylcream

stick-thin fag stuck to his upper lip, hardly ever lit,

nodding up and down, agreeing with him as he spoke.

“Wotcha Charlie”, he’d grin before tickling us.

 

We stared in awe as he magically rolled a cigarette with one hand

the other clasping a bottle of Mann’s Brown, watching the match

in monochrome, “On the ball City!”. His mantel clock,

now at rest above my fireplace, ticking like an ancient heart-beat.

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