POETRY

Down Oz

By

I knew what I knew
And I knew it was you
With the eyes of a child and a heart untrue,
Because, because
Of the way it was
Down Oz when times were wild.

I thought what I thought
And I thought of the sort
Of guys who hung round your beach resort,
Because, because
Of the way it was
Down Oz when the world was young.

I had what I had
And I had it bad,
So I needed the dough and it made me mad,
Because, because
Of the way it was
Down Oz a life ago.

I said what I said
And I said to the Head
Of the Polizei how his boy was dead,
Because, because
Of the way it was
Down Oz when stakes were high.

I did what I did
And I did for the kid
For a case of booze and a thousand quid,
Because, because
Of the way it was
Down Oz with nothing to lose.

We are what we are
And we are, ha-ha,
Ashes that fall from the big cigar,
Because, because
Of the way it was
Down Oz when love was all.

John Whitworth is one of those fattish, baldish, backward-looking, provincial poets in which England is so rich. His tenth collection, Girlie Gangs, was published by Enitharmon in 2012 to international acclaim. Well, Les Murray liked it. And Walter Ancarrow in America. You might also consider Writing Poetry published by A & C Black, one of those how-to books; it has run to a second edition and is pretty good, though he (the poet) would say that, wouldn’t he? He once won £5,000 for a single poem. Listen and marvel.

I knew what I knew
And I knew it was you
With the eyes of a child and a heart untrue,
Because, because
Of the way it was
Down Oz when times were wild.