John, Aged Four – by Robert Nisbet


The wasps, purring, hovering in sun,
above a yellowing sill, by the wireless,
a brown and sometimes babbling box.

The garden and the rows of peas,
the rooks, who were visitors, black,
dipping, rising, voices cawing.

Bobby, the big fat ginger cat,
sleeping, buzzing, through summer,
with his tail’s metronomic swish.

And John’s mother’s goodly ambience,
a warmth and, best, a bulwark
against days’ and moments’ fluster.

Such a shock then, when a bigger boy
showed him how to stamp a snail
to death. In a moment, so much buckled.



Robert Nisbet, a creative writing tutor from Pembrokeshire, was the winner of this year’s Prole Poetry Pamphlet Competition with Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes.

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