Brian Turner


     I can tell you what fear is
and when it started.
     It's a policeman's little black book
and what goes down in it.

     Your father told you about it
and the consequences
      of misdemeanour, that crimp,
which became the book

     that grows under your skin,
watermarks of conscience throughout,
     contrition sharp as barley grass
in your socks, and like confessions

     hard to extract. 'Experience
is the best teacher,' Dad said,
      'and we're part of yours,'
Mum added, her eyes the colour of peat,

     except when joy dismissed
anguish whereupon they turned
      biscuit-brown, then lightened,
shone like acorns. You don't find

     peace there – at least I didn't,
and haven't – when you're downcast
      like a colt without shoes
standing in the fitful shade.

Author’s Note


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