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Monday 11 June 2012

The First Ray of Darkness.

Arthur Broomfield
lived in the next road to me,
across the dog-leg
made by his and mine.
Five houses off, no more.
A line of sight from house to house.
He lived with mum and dad -
as, indeed, did I.
But I was rising twelve
and he had fought in Italy.

His folk and mine were friends.
He took me places
I had never seen:
E.M.I. in London was a regular
where he bought my first L.Ps.
Beethoven's Fifth - the set,
and later, the Eroica;
a motor-cycle rally;
a concert held near-by.
My folk seemed not to mind.

He warned me about girls.
Not to get involved.
His fear was of diseases.
He'd seen in Italy
what men can catch from girls,
the agonies the men endured
in order to get cured.
But men with men was safe -
no dangers there!
Today you'd have to say
that he was grooming me.

One evening, whilst  listening
to music - Mozart's Clarinet
Concerto - the Adagio - it's
that clear in my mind - I saw
he was unbuttoning himself,
after which he looked at me,
inquiring if he'd have to do it
to himself - and what would I
like him to put on next - that's
musically speaking! I took my
courage in both hands, asked
for Haydn. 'What about the
"Farewell" Symphony?' I said.

This is #9 in my Monday Suburban Village Series
I have also added it to Poet's United's Poetry Pantry at http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.co.uk/


Cloudia said...

Must have been challenging both to remember and to write about. Conjures memories of my own...

Aloha from Waikiki,
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

Cressida de Nova said...

I think it would have taken a great deal of courage to write this. You have earned my admiration. I wonder how often this happens to young people. There is a need to warn and educate the young against perverts.They have to be farwelled with something much stronger than a Hadyn symphony.Bastards!

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Wow! Very powerful, intense verse.

haricot said...

Youth is written in Kanji which is similar to " bitter", but more fluid than the Kanji, bitter.
Your words remind me of that and rhythmic Haydon.

Brother Ollie said...

...a narrative one falls right into.

Anonymous said...

These stories are wonderful, and there is such empathy and pathos in this one and humor. It's very well done. k.

Jim Murdoch said...

I half-expected the line “Ah, if only he had known,” after “no dangers there!” A heavy subject handled with a light touch. Growing up I also had a friend who was much older than me with the unfortunate name, at least the name we called him by, of ‘Big Willie’ although no one ever called him Willie if his mother was around; it was William and nothing less. Willie taught me about girls or at least made some effort to. Years later I learned that due to his size—the ‘Big’ was to do with girth and not height you have to understand—he had had very limited and mostly unsuccessful experiences with women and the student quickly outstripped the master on both counts; I don’t think he ever married. My father was in the navy during WWII and was probably the most homophobic person I have ever met although he never said why and I never asked.

Brian Miller said...

dang man...a hard scene to relive...and turns my stomach and riles my anger a bit as well in the manipulation and predatory actions...

Daydreamertoo said...

Yes, I would say he was grooming you too. I'm glad you asked for the 'Farewell' Symphony.
A very deeply emotional subject you've handled this exceptionally well Dave. No placing blame, no playing the victim either. Just stating facts in a very gentle but equally powerful way.
The Sandusky trial starts today. He's a school football coach accused over abusing over 50 young boys, including rape and other charges which he obviously denies.
I hope the truth all comes out during the trial. People who abuse these positions of trust (if guilty) need to go to prison for a long time.
Well written Dave.

Kerry O'Connor said...

You set this out as a perfect narrative, with a suburban setting one can easily relate to. Your antagonist comes across as a troubled soul, war-torn, and the protagonist an innocent falling unknowingly into a trap. At least the fellow did not force the youngster to participate, and the boy had the presence of mind to escape. This is a rare look at a common form of child abuse. Awareness is key.

Unknown said...

You handle a delicate subject with honesty and grace. No yanking at heartstrings or ethos, but allowing the truth to emerge. This is the perfect accompaniment to the NY Times Magazine article from Sunday June 10. Brilliant write, this.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Dave, this is so powerful, written with such awareness, and you took the High Road here in relaying the story. Even humor at the end. My hat is off to you. Very fine writing.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Tremendously vivid throughout, with a great light touch at the end.

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...


A very disturbing awareness and I'm sure a betrayal of trust as well, at such an early age.
This kind of experience stays for life. An eternal shock in effect, on realising the truth....


Bodhirose said...

I knew what was coming when I saw that you were only 12... I don't think children are very safe in our world..it's an all too common experience it seems. Glad you chose "Farewell.." Your writing just draws me in..fascinating.

Scarlet said...

You handled this narrative with sensitivity and without blame on the why and wherefore. I appreciate the honest words...it was a choice you took, and that ending stanza was a nice close ~

My Inner Chick said...

P O W E R F U L.

Thank you for sharing this. X

Elephant's Child said...

Such a sad and frightened man. Yes, perhaps he was grooming you - but that does not diminish his own pain. Thanks Dave.

Dave King said...

Yes, in fact I can't recall much more than is in the poem.

Cressida de Nova
Hi, Good to have your visit. And yes, you are right. I have not told anyone (except my wife) any of this until now. I did have quite strong guilt feeling about not telling my parents. I think it happens more than we realise. No one ever spoke about these things when I was growing up - or if they did I didn't hear them - but it happened. It happened again when I was at Grammar school. Not to me, but to several senior pupils. A math teacher. I don't think anything happened to him except he was sacked.

Thanks for saying.

Thank you for this. Most interesting.

Old Ollie
Thank you both for the visit and the comment. Really good to have your company.

Thanks for saying. Much appreciated.

I have often thought it odd the things we don't ask our parents, and then when it's too late, wish we had. There are several I wish now that I had asked mine. Thanks for a really interesting comment.

I understand why it would, maybe should, but strangely I have never felt anger towards this guy. Maybe because for a long time he was just a good friend - as I thought, and then when he showed himself in his true colours I just felt uncomfortable. I wasn't sure whether it was normal, natural or what. I knew where we were, but felt all at sea there.

Thank you for this. I have read about Sandusky. Don't think I'd like to be on the jury for that trial. Thanks for a fascinating response.

Hi, and welcome. Good to have you on the blog. I agree with your summing up: yes, awareness is the key. The escape was instinct. As I've said above, a feeling of discomfort and not knowing was uppermost,

A warm welcome to you. Thank you for your kind words. They are very much appreciated.

Sherry Blue Sky
Thank you so much. It was a difficult write - and I nearly didn't post it, but I'm glad I did - thanks to you and others like you.

Thanks for this. Means a lot.

Yes, that's right. The shock came later, I suppose, when I realised what might have been. And then there was sadness too, at the loss of a friend.

Good to have your comment. Much thanks for it and for the encouragement you bring.

Thank you. Really greatly appreciated.

My Inner Chick
Hi. Welcome to the blog. Good to have you with us and to have your thoughts.

The Elephant's Child
Absolutely right. In that I am sure he was genuine. He was truly scared of going with a woman.