Convent Garden

by Michael Lythgoe

 

Remember fish & chips, Yorkshire bitter,
lunch at Rule’s with the ghost of Dickens.
In those days, I wandered flea markets,
collected old prints, wood blocks,
drawers to hold letters, brass knockers.

On one corner of the neighborhood
stood a tall building, like a missile
ready to launch: Moss Bros. I got
a second hand morning suit for boating
at Henley, Ascot races, top hat, tails.

Heavy wool suit. It hangs now
in the upstairs closet gathering dust.
Once at a steeple chase, I witnessed
Prince Charles tumble to a bloody nose.
Crowds for Charles & Lady Di’s wedding.

Never got to the Opera. Did ride the tube
under the Thames to drink beer from
the wood in Fleet Street pubs, Saint
Katherine’s Docks, Frog & Firkin,
antique hat rack, Deer Stalker, Bobby

Helmet, black thorn cane, fast train to Edinburgh,
morning commutes on Metropolitan Line,
reading Seamus Heaney’s poems, exit
at Baker Street, walks thru Horseguards
to Ministry of Defence building, Henry VIII wine cellar.

RAF neighbors. British schools for sons.
Lived in RAF quarters in Northwood;
Nato had a submarine headquarters,
underground. Caught the last train out,
the night the IRA left a bomb in London.

 


Michael Hugh Lythgoe is the author of Brass a chapbook winner of the Kjnloch River Prize from the PSSC (Poets Society of South Carolina), and a full collection: Holy Week Poems. He also edited a poetry chapbook for the Savannah River Poets titled Borderline Poems. Mike holds the MFA from Bennington College, an MA from The University of Notre Dame, and a BS from St. Louis U. He is a retired USAF officer with 24 years of service. He publishes in Windhover, Kakalak, Presence, PermaFrost, The Caribbean Writer, and Christianity and Literature. He lives in Aiken, SC.

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