Riot of Passage – Philip Burton

shop soiled staff shook sticky hands

I am a family man, born in Fife, raised in Thanet, and I have been a hippie, a laborer, a professional student, and a Catholic head teacher in Lancashire. I came to writing through the OU and also the WEA courses of Copland Smith. 

In the last twenty years I have been very widely published in literary magazines – three hundred and sixty three of my poems in total – including editions of PN Review and Stand, as well as in adult anthologies and in ten anthologies for children. I have won many awards, including First prizes in the Teignmouth,The Barn Owl Trust, the Lancaster Litfest, the Sentinel, and also the Star Magazine humorous poetry competition. Indigo Dreams published a collection of thirty of my recent poems in August 2017.

Riot of Passage            

Can’t think of Mother, not without

the cut-price colour of January

and the argy-bargy orgy

for price of a penny off.

Doors were bent wide

by excess might and main,

but, calm as a ship’s figurehead,

sweet as a sugar mouse, 

sexy in war-paint was Mum,

her skirts a scarlet lifeboat.

I once saw a bundle roll

from a capsized pram –

an infant, soon obscured

by a bedlam of stilettos.

Mother dipped and gathered

one-handed (her weaker), placed

the bairn in the knitting wool

between Aruns and Lanarks.

Near closing, the storm of farthings

spent itself out on Everything Has to Go,

and Ends of Lines. Elbows were holstered, 

shop soiled staff shook sticky hands,

sobs were exchanged. 

Mrs Bosco wrestled down the blinds.

Philip Burton, Fife

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