Toby was talking once, about our Lane
in the wintertime, he said it was
“sort of solid and wet”. Dank, you might say.
Then snowdrop, crocus, daffodil, blackbird,
and we’d be back, out in our gardens, nattering.
The girl first appeared September-time,
around the year they were singing that song,
The times they are a-changin’.
A schoolteacher we gathered, walking through
from her landlady’s to the primary school.
It was Affie who called her The Glittering Girl.
She was smart, that girl, her lipstick
Hollywood red, and everything was right,
her clothes and hair and smile and walk
… and by the half-term in October
she’d started calling all of us by name.
(There were stories about her, mind,
Mackie’s niece was in her class,
and the kids didn’t call each other
“boys” and “girls”, just “people”.
They were all of them called “persons”.
And then we heard she’d read to them
stories of children in Japan and Germany,
and we’d think to ourselves, Well, lady,
we had a war on not so long ago.
We humphed a bit on hearing that, but then
she’d smile at us so nicely, walking home.)
Yes, she was smart, that girl, she brightened up
our springs and autumns, then she moved,
to Cardiff we were told. Married or promotion?
We never heard, but, as Glyn the barber said,
No arguments, boys, she made a difference.
Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet whose work has appeared widely in Britain and the USA. He won the Prole Pamphlet Competition in 2017 with Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes. In the USA he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize four times in the last three years.