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Troubadour Poems: DA Prince

05/05/2008

DA Prince was born in Leicestershire of Welsh parents in 1947. Her book, Nearly the Happy Hour, published this month, is the first full-length collection from HappenStance.

What time is it, Mr Wolf?

Mr Wolf has eyes creased tight, his fists
balled into dumplings, concentrating
on the rules. Today he’s learned thistles,
a difficult door-handle, excuse me,
crackle of the cornflakes packet, the cat’s nose,
broccoli, striped curtains, woodlice,
the smell of doormats. He has eaten
half a boiled egg, toast with Marmite
(but left the crusts), a banana.

The sun tickles like a blanket, the sort
his aunt keeps spare in a wheezing wardrobe
where sneezes hide. He knows
he mustn’t laugh at the sun’s fingers
but keep as still as church. He wants to feel
how they creep closer, mummy, daddy,
inching like grasshoppers, like the giggle
that can’t be stoppered. He’s got to get this right,
listening in puckered darkness
for the tilt of shadows,
for light splitting open,
for Dinner time!

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