“The College Boys” by Robert Nisbet

We courted manhood, ten years on
from urchinhood, and that wide
green playing field sloping down
from Barn Street Primary for Boys.
We wore cords now, sometimes smoked pipes,
graced cafés with our suave mid-
morning selves. The future, like a
ripening nut, was still to be, to be.
But progress, high degree, were all.
My stories, when I talked of them,
lay in a pool of puzzlement.
And then, years on, my stories drew
first breath. Now, these last few
months, I’ve met two of those boys,
who’ve really had (and I’m glad for them,
glad for them) success and high degree.
But my stories they knew too (mothers

and sisters had sent them on, of course).
They talked of them with affection,
with the pleasure people seem to feel
when a boyhood friend has cheeked
the beak, has cracked a conker on
the swot’s knuckles, in some way kept
the faith, the faith of urchinhood
remembered – and that wide green field

 

 

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who once read for an American President, when ex-President and poet Jimmy Carter was guest of honour at the opening of the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea in 1995. Nisbet is a Pushcart Prize nominee for “Cultivation” (Sparks of Calliope, 2019).

“Speculation” by Craig Dobson

The whole view grows
in winter’s sunlit vinegar –
hauled up by a blue false sky
behind which, like tombstones,
the stars are waiting.
When I met you, I was similar –
nothing to stand in nothing’s way
under my own false future.
Why you wore spring’s patience,
only you remember.
Turning from the brazen scape,
I see the ice in shadows.
Too old now for our old conjecture,
still some of it, like sunlight, lingers –
like frost will, too, in dark spring corners.

 

 

Craig Dobson has had poems and short fiction published in Agenda, The London Magazine, Poetry Ireland Review, The Interpreter’s House, Better than Starbucks, Magma, New Welsh Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Lighten Up Online, North, The Rialto, Southword, Stand, Poetry Daily Website, and Neon. He has work forthcoming in THINK, Poetry Salzburg Review, and The Dark Horse. He’s working towards his first collection of poetry. He lives in the UK.

“Those Boys are History Now” by Robert Nisbet

I’ll sing a blues for those two boys,
cycling through their time and place,
a south-west corner of a small island,
thirteen years on from a continent’s vast war.
A tall road, summer-sweet with tarmac,
climbing from a seaside village,
from rock pool to hedgerow, tyre hum –
and the dates, the hopes, that Friday next,
the girls with pony-tails.
They are history now, those boys,
and we might search for them,
the names, the boys, the sentiments,
stacked up in family photos, newspapers,
exam results and names of teams,
postcards from Paris, microfilm.
(Praise, praise, to the stackers and recorders).
Sometimes they seem to fade, that scene, the people,
yet still they haunt that recollected tarmacked road,
evoking, evoking.

 

 

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who once read for an American President, when ex-President and poet Jimmy Carter was guest of honour at the opening of the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea in 1995. Nisbet is a Pushcart Prize nominee for “Cultivation” (Sparks of Calliope, 2019).