Terry Collett

Gold Star - 23,271 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

Third Degree 1961 - Poem by Terry Collett

To get home
carrying
the image of him
the eyes hazel

the hair
the quiff
the way he looked at her
Yehudit

her mother says
where have you been
was the school bus
late again?

no I was talking
to a boy
she says wondering
what her mother will say

looking away
wanting to get out
of her school uniform
get into something better

what boy?
the mother asks
gazing
scrutinising

taking in
her daughter’s face
seeing if the eyes
give anything away


Benedict’s a new boy
at school
lives along the road
in the black cottages

the mother stares harder
boys can be problematic
she says
what were you

talking about?
Yehudit looks
at the photograph
on the mantelpiece

a family group
before her brothers
left to marry
about choir

he’s going to join
Yehudit says
trying not to sound
too excited

well make sure that
is all it is don’t
want you bringing
home trouble

the mother says firmly
of course not
Yehudit says
wondering what trouble

her mother means
just singing in choir
he’s coming tonight
for practice

she adds
looking at her mother’s eyes
the depth there
a darkness lurking

you’re 13 not 23
her mother says
be 14 soon
Yehudit says

and how old is
this boy?
the mother asks
14 I think

he’s in my class at school
so only just 14
I guess
Yehudit says

biting her lower lip
as I said
you’re just 13
so no trouble

the mother says
or else
she walks away
towards the kitchen

where potatoes boil
or else echoes
in Yehudit’s head
as she goes upstairs

to her room
to lay on her bed.

Topic(s) of this poem: youth


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Poem Edited: Tuesday, November 17, 2015


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