Terry Collett

Gold Star - 23,291 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

Helen And The Small Penknife. - Poem by Terry Collett

Having completed various jobs
indoors and out
such as running errands

and shopping etc
your mother gave you 2 shillings
and you went through the Square

to a shop on New Kent Road
where you bought
a small penknife

you'd seen in the window
and you showed Jimmy
whose knife collection

was large
including a bayonet
his father brought back

from WW2
but he was unimpressed
showing you in turn

a Nazi knife his father
took from a dead soldier
from some battle

he'd fought in
you never showed
your mother

but Helen saw it
on the way to school
next morning

and peered at it
through her thick lens spectacles
does your mother know

you bought that?
she asked
no not yet

you replied
pocketing it out of sight
maybe another day

don't you tell
your mother everything?
she asked

no not everything
you said
I have a need to know

basis I work with
what about truth?
she asked

you gazed at her
in her dark blue raincoat
buttoned to the throat

her wavy hair
in two plaits
her eyes peering at you

through those thick lens of hers
truth is like bubble gum
you said

you have to stretch it a bit
to get a bigger bubble

she shook her head
making her plaits move
each side of her head

I don't want the future father
of my children to be a liar
she said

maybe he won't
you said
you are

she replied
you looked at
the record shop window

as you went by
a picture of Elvis Presley
was in the window

don't you like the knife?
you asked

looking back at her
as you spoke
only if you tell your mother

she said
ok I'll show her
and tell her

after school
you said
she smiled

and her big eyes
lit up
and she pushed her arm

under yours
and squeezed you near
and all because

of the small penknife
you'd bought from the shop
through the Square

but you did love
her big bright eyes
and wavy plaited hair.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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