Oh you were perfect, a perfect
helminth, they said. They had words for you, words
with you, a whole string of indignant nouns.
And all because of the day, windless and bright,
that they lined you up like a squadron
of roses and tulips, in bloom
for the photographer under his prayer-shawl,
flash-gun up like a ping-pong paddle
guiding in nervous flight crews.
Just before the powder blew
you mussed your hair up, because you could,
because you were born
with a rebel heart. Look at the picture.
I do. Under the prim and cloudless sky, of all the attentive faces,
I can only pick out one: yours.
Bill Greenwell is a poet and parodist, and the Arts Staff Tutor for the Open University in the North. He’s from Sunderland, was New Statesman’s satirical writer in the nineties, and is one of the OU’s creative writing team. He has two sites: www.theweeklypoem.com and www.billgreenwell.com. He was born in 1952, and his collection Impossible Objects is published by Cinnamon.