Mrs A. strings up Union Jack bunting,
lays tables with jellies, red and green;
spread fish-paste thinly, she demands: plates
still to fill; she smoothes her pastel-blue dress.
Mr A. shouts: Ready, steady; shrugs
when children race off before he fires,
through streets named after the Colonies;
his wife grimaces at crumbs on her dress,
ties on a pinny; mothers pour squash,
seat children for tea while the dog
watches the gun. A father takes photos:
neighbours in groups, the Andrews as a pair.
Mrs A. perches, ankles crossed, bemused
before an estate of Council prefabs
where wheat-fields should be. Rainclouds gather.
She hurries to present the children’s mugs.
– by Lesley Burt. This poem was Commended in our 2016 Competition
Lesley lives in Christchurch, Dorset, where she was born and has spent most of her life, enjoying the coast, the New Forest, and feeling very lucky that her family lives locally too. Lesley’s poetry has been published in magazines and anthologies, including: Tears in the Fence, The Interpreter’s House, Sarasvati, Reach, Prole and The Butchers Dog and Sentinel Literary Quarterly Oct-Dec 2016; also online, including by the Poetry Kit website, Long Exposure and Strange Poetry. She wrote a chapter for: Teaching Creative Writing (2012, editor Elaine Walker). She is retired from a career in social work and social work education, supports the local library in promoting poetry and has recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.