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At Seventeen by Patrick Osada

Arts Richmond

Online - 17 September 2020

At Seventeen by Patrick Osada

Planning an escape

from a sea of houses –

net-curtained inglenooks for tidy lives;

bingo, betting shop,

fish 'n' chips for Friday

somewhere to live: a place to die.


Slippery the stepping stones

where footsteps falter

(see them leading to the other side?)

take the only way

through the rush of water

nimbly trip to the other side.


From the meadow-side –

sunshine and celandines –

grassy slopes reach a granite incline,

barren mountain track

past the stunted heather:

scale the summit for peace of mind.


The path through Eldritch Wood

remains uncharted,

menacing trees screen the skulking troll,

armed with garlic flower,

a crucifix and logic

destroy them all or lose your soul.


Ice-cold the waterfall

veiling the entrance

of the passageway to the cave of gold,

plunge past the cataract,

storm the raging waters,

claw doggedly to your chosen goal.


from ABOUT TIME, the 2019 anthology of shortlisted entries from The Roger McGough Poetry Prize. Copies of this Anthology can be purchased for £5 including P&P from Arts Richmond.

At Seventeen by Patrick Osada

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