The Reverend Griff, in his evening pulpit.
The shine of the reading lamp upon his text
begat a minister in black and yellow.
That night the theme was lust, it was
the adult members’ evening service,
and Hugh was sixteen now himself.
The Reverend preached of fornication,
the ravages of flesh and fleshly longing,
in the cities of the ancient Middle East.
The finger of an inward fear was hovering,
as the sermon filled the pulpit shadow.
A fortnight later, Hugh and Barbara walked,
as usually, round the Parade, and kissed,
before the walk home through a quiet town.
This night they fondled, for two simple minutes,
and, winter coats or not, his heart was lit
by the suddenness of touch. Walking home
from Barbara’s house, he found a joy
in the streets, the lights, the moon.
Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has published widely in Britain and the USA. He was recently shortlisted for the Wordsworth Trust Prize.