Cool as an eel
he slipped between syllables,
Theories sprouted like flowering trees.
Since dawn he’d battled with Papa.
He was his own first patient.
Rivals he conquered
one by one.
The ritual was fixed.
to and fro on the steps ding-dong.
Talk. Talk – unmentionable things –
listening, he wrote it down.
They must understand the nakedness
Taming the animal passions wasn’t easy.
It wasn’t sin,
it was unmapped landscape
Sally Festing’s fifth collection, My Darling Derry, is published by Fair Acre Press. Her non-fiction books include Barbara Hepworth: A Life of Forms (Penguin).