'Mangle-Worzel' by Cath Kenneally | States of Poetry SA - Series Two

Back at Cranfield Street by 5
Motorway horridness receding into fumey oblivion
We are just in time for Pointless – words ending in ‘air’
‘debonair’ ? – others, phoned at random, knew that one

Two pounds fifty left on my Oyster card once I’ve put it through the barrier at
the delicate, high-slung, white and black, wooden pedestrian bridge over the
Brockley line
all along the route is densely wooded with lanky elder saplings
dock and nettles, layers of green petticoats below the asphalt belt

Wendy’s raspberries are flourishing in her damp back garden
I only notice the hundreds of orb spiders strung on webs between the bushes
when I come eye to eye with one as I bend to gather fruit

Brockley Market turns two on Saturday: I’ll be there.

travel the best excuse to scavenge: any find might be a clue
to the answer you’ve been seeking

I’ve picked up a copy of Worzel Gummidge
           ‘Do tell us how you came alive?’
           ‘... so far as I can mind, it all started with a itching in the head,
           when the turnip began to sprout.’

Three Oxford Children’s Modern Classic authors
ring bells, from the list inside Worzel’s cover
Rosemary Sutcliff, Philippa Pearce, Astrid Lindgren

I know the TV Gummidge, not the book
or its author, Barbara Euphan Todd
who ‘started writing when she was eight’, the little swot

the written story’s charm eludes me
a grim, mirthless tale of mud, muddle and mayhem

           Why do I love England? And yet I do.