TROUT   [5]

Peter Robinson: [1 , 2 , 3 , 4, 5 ]
Marking Time

In marking time, the errors come
so thick and fast we're at a loss
to count or, laughing, to recount them;
some I recognize, because
they're mine, mine word for word.
With only this to do, it's hard
marking time till the baby's born,
exams are over and I can return
to a family grown without me around.
I'm marking time to clear debts.
Across waste spaces comes the sound
of a high school marching band.
Freezing cold drum majorettes
stamp the dirt of a football pitch.


Beyond fogged windows in an overheated room
winter's losing its grip: for days
the treacherous turned to wetness,
then froze, ice crazing a pane;
it retreated by inches, and what was
dead in us through these last years -
frost patches where the sun doesn't reach,
ploughed piles of exhausted black snow -
wouldn't die, but remained, and is still.
You watch your step down under the hill;
to encourage the others, make examples of words,
as in high-walled back gardens loud birds
mean changes, marking time, and here we go.


  © 1998