Day of the Dead? No a fairground chalk skull I won on the 29th September 1971 at Wallingford Fair with my Dad. I know because I etched it on the bottom….today’s Daily Drawing and I already written a poem about it I will find it out and post here..
Three rings round a shiny target and it’s yours
amidst the clatter and pop of fairground stalls
burning like a new constellation fallen to earth
I clutched the small plaster skull in my fist.
A booth trinket. A choice between that
and a fading, chipped plaster angel fish.
We moved on. My father and I.
Past a mud splattered generator pumping
grey clouds across the dark wet grass.
First thing I’d ever won. 12 years old.
I found it last winter. Turned it up in an old box.
Then noticed the carved inscription on it.
I’d made all those years before.
Shaun Belcher. 11th September 1971.
I held it as my father, now in his seventies,
bent to the garden, his back to me
cuts away at the heavy clay soil.
The flint, chalk and clay, turning over again
as my own thoughts spiralled back over years
to the dusty stubble fields of late summer.
My step granddad and his collie
arcing in loops across the Oxfordshire fields
tracking imaginary pheasants and hares.
The dog that ground to a panting halt
saliva dripping under the kitchen table.
So we too shall come to our end.
All our skulls, man and beast
flaking and turning to powder in the black soil
like this skull, a plaster moon, thrown at the stars.
Available online in The Drifting Village
The Drifting Village – Poems 2001-2011(HPP No. 1)