Issue 7

Rory Waterman
Being Mr Arndale

Being Mr Arndale

Why would that old boy watch us on the field
at break-time, over the gate that’s now a fence?

Pip the Jack Russell tight to his ankle
and paper in hand, that was Mr Arndale,

with fingers like tubers, drab cap, wry face
and stories to match, and humbugs to keep us from football

a moment longer.
                         A bungalow is for sale
on Middle Street: the gnomes, the stepping stones

have gone from his tiny plot, where weak tall nettles
tremble in cauling rainfall, and a nest

of deflated sacking couches a dark pool of runoff
by what’s become of his potting shed, greening, rotting.

And we were his prototypes, his certainty
of life still growing whole. The ghost of him is me.