Here’s the Lone Ranger coming, we yelled,
as he pounded past, running the mile,
School Sports in nineteen-sixty-something.
With his horrible washed-out vest, grey shorts,
flat-sounding feet slapping down,
he made it look hard work. But still,
he finished third. Won a point for the House.
When he joined that firm of ship-builders
he was in the boardroom by twenty-seven.
I was told he could knock his coffee over,
slop the sugar, at every board meeting,
and his suits looked too short in the sleeve.
But the firm must have rated him.
He retired, seemed to be a wealthy man, at fifty,
and became a naturalist. Unpaid largely,
volunteering for the National Park.
He sat on their committees, pushing for funds
(he was dogged as hell on committees),
and worked as a Ranger too, out in the Park,
clearing the coast path, fencing, building.
I was told by another Ranger there
how good he was with animals. He’d seen him
moving nestlings, treating a beached seal,
with a touch that was so natural, so delicate, so kind.
Robert Nisbet is from Wales, where he spent a full career as high-school teacher and college lecturer, with odd side-spells as college debating president and sports writer. He wrote short stories for many years, being shortlisted, back in 1983, for the Dylan Thomas Award. He turned to poetry some 15 years ago, with hundreds of publications in Britain and the USA, where he has two Pushcart nominations, from Panoply and Sparks of Calliope.