The Satyr's Head
The hidden garden we played in
was bordered in red brick.
Crenellations of a faded fort,
ivy-scattered and wind-aged.
A Victorian garden.
The towering walls tempted us to climb,
the bricks testing their mortar,
forming steps and hand-holds.
Urging frail frames against the height,
then daring to drop to the spiky grass below.
Protected by a wisp of arrogance,
an armour of childhood.
We danced in the light of the Satyr's grin,
the limestone details of the fountain,
weathered and mean,
the endless grimace of a fiend.
The garden cloaked our tower block's stares,
its trees veiling the aerials, the satellite dishes,.
Its bricks a smoke screen to the traffic's roar,
the yells of our mothers.
Its bushes covering up the smog.
the jam-sweet scent of winter berries
disguising the stench from the bins.
We danced like our fathers told us we could,
spinning in the dead leaves
that spun from our steps,
like wry circus performers.