First Week Of The Rest Of Our Lives Poem by Roger Hudson

First Week Of The Rest Of Our Lives

Buffeting flanks of police horses
Flashing lights in cold dark city night
Screaming banners
Bawling loud hailers
Introduction to demonstrations
In first week at university
As invasions of Suez of Hungary generate protest
Excitement and indignation combine
In night-time phantasm
Of newfound power of mass action
Absolute release from routine of school
Boredom of national service

Blank bleak black once elegant London
Of trams and trolley-buses (still)
Of buses and trucks
And cycling amidst them
In trepidation and bravado
Of puzzling to find one's way around
In the big strange city
Of lectures in converted Victorian terraced houses
In old tiered lecture theatres
In concrete Nissen huts

But a time of making new
Of coffee bars
And magic word ‘cappuccino'
Hours of talk over one coffee
Of skiffle groups
Of classic films in the discomfort
Of ancient tiered lecture theatre
Potemkin and The Somnambulist
Citizen Kane and Bicycle Thieves
Of Nouvelle-Vague
And Angry Young Men
And Kitchen Sink
Of sitting in the gods of theatres
To stare absorbed down on Lilliputian actors
Emoting in Osborne, Wesker, Pinter, Shakespeare
Finding time to read Amis, Sillitoe, John Wain
A world of innovation
But did we know
We first-timers
That this had not happened for previous generations
That we were inventing life for ourselves our generation
And could get it wrong
As had others before us

County grants enough to live on (if careful)
And have a bit left over for a beer
All seeming equals
No need to explain
No need to open up
Inner fears deeper worries
Enough going on
Enough to do
To fill many conversations
New routines rapidly develop
To compass the new
The youthful
The exciting
The unknown

Recruited on freshers day
To take photos sub-edit write for college newspaper
Laying out pages till late at night
In tiny gatehouse office
To build scenery stage manage with dramatic society
Painting stage flats till the small hours
Sustained by endless cups of Oxo
And sleeping in dusty drapes

Of girls accessible attractive
But all the inhibitions
Of boys-school separation
Of never having learnt to understand
These creatures
Conversation yes
But what more?
The others seemed to know and do it

At hops
Phallic glass of beer in hand
As masculine assertion comfort protection
Against decision to ask
One of the waiting girls
For a dance whose steps we don't really know
[none too sure/from lack of practice]

Thursday, December 28, 2017
Topic(s) of this poem: beginning,looking back,perspective,university
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