Uncle Ken – a poem by Colin Bancroft

Uncle Ken

I never spent enough time with you
To know you, properly, except that one
Blazing summer when I was, what, twelve?
And we stayed for two weeks at the house
In Mossley.
.                    What has stuck with me since
Was that afternoon down on the canal
Tow path when you showed me how to kneel
In the long grass and catch crickets with my hands,
How if you dived in they would get away,
That it took slowness and precision
In the way that you cup your hands softly
Over them until they were enveloped
By darkness
.                  the feeling on my fingers,
My palms, as they threw themselves against
The walls of their unexplainable tomb
Desperate for escape.
.                                  It is a lesson
I have learned well these succeeding years
When my own blackness has descended.
How the fight for release, however powerless
I am to affect an outcome, is the mark
Of being alive
.                  And I understand
Why, when reconditioned to the sudden
Brightness of an opened-up world those insects
Paused for a moment, drinking in the light,
As though seeing everything for the first time,
Before launching themselves unflinchingly
                                    back into it all.


Colin Bancroft is currently in exile in the North Pennines where he  is finishing off a PhD on the Ecopoetics of Robert Frost. His pamphlet ‘Impermanence’ is released in October with Maytree Press. He also currently runs www.poetsdirectory.co.uk

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