Verse Autobiography


(The Early Years – verse autobiography)

The following three poems, or three parts of one poem, are of necessity laid out consecutively; ideally (though impossibly) they should be read concurrently as each covers much the same period of the same individuals life.


Part One – SHADOWS

I was born –
unimaginably young –
to a backdrop of war
fought on a global scale.

Doodlebugs fledged their way
across the scene of my nativity –
I swear (a legacy
of wild imaginings)

I heard the engines stall
as death descended
from the sky.

Childhood and youth
were spent
in the shadow
of a mushroom cloud –

as if by miracle
our lives went on.
Remaining unconvinced
by the ‘deterrence’ lie –

and guided by the light
of ‘Spies for Peace –
I joined the siege of bunkers –
which did not exist

according to
the parliamentary line –
where those that govern
could survive

improbable attacks.
Loophole acknowledged –
their reasoning must be
to strike pre-emptively

and I declined
the opportunity –
disowned all those prepared
for genocide, became

an alien in my own land.

Malcolm Evison
11 – 13 May 2009


Part Two – LIGHT

Wrapped in a world full of love
whilst all around
was hate and fear –

(the enemy was thwarted
but not forgiven –
their future generations

would be tarnished
by the mark of Cain –
I failed to understand

that reasoning).

From my own comfort
rich in love
if not in pennies

I began to see
the world
through eyes

of others understanding –
took stands upon
my parents faith

reluctantly accepted
unknown to many

of my friends.
Sunday was decisively
the Lord’s Day –

my father worked
being a preacher man –
my mother worked

looking after the family –
that was the day
I could not venture

out to play
with friends
whose parents

were otherwise
The radio was silent

save for the news
or hymn singing.
This was our Sabbath Day –

the would be sanctified
could only pray
for those proverbial sheep

so far astray –
it seemed
as if the second covenant

was made of rules
almost forgetting
the liberty of grace.

Malcolm Evison
14 May 2009


A rebel prepared
for any cause
I traversed many
scenes but never found

my niche. I knew
from early teens
what I must be, but first
I must break free.

Eager to break the bonds
of school (a kind of punishment
for being young)
I dreamed my time away.

Moving from one school
to the next, never quite worked my way –
fell foul of alien traditions.
Compelled to join a company of snobs –

(a secondary punishment, once removed,
for my eleven-plus success) –
teachers just failed
to understand the differing curriculum

from one part of the country
to the next; dismissed me
as unworthy of attention
when I couldn’t understand

their different scheme of things.
They made me hooker
in their rugby union game,
when all I knew was soccer

not the queer toffs routine –
no-one attempted to explain
the rules and I became
a victim, kicked and ground

down. The previous absence
of a swimming pool
ensured I never learned to swim,
except against the tide –

they held me under
at the deeper end, then failed
to understand my trauma –
a baptism through drowning.

Loving to play with words
I soon lost patience
with the drill of prosody;
where words for me

had always throbbed with life,
they squeezed out their last breath
and bound them in a shroud
of grammar. Music

to me was singing,
but others in the class
had learned to read
a simple score –

the music man interpreted
attendance at a different school
as ignorance, my forte thwarted
by a different scale

of learning, and a tyrant’s whim.
And these were meant to be
the best years of one’s life?
Even school trips, had I been able

to partake, were way beyond
my parents means; in fifties Britain –
skiing had never been a part
of our lifestyle scheme,

not even part of any dream –
I made excuses, skulked
in the background
as if ashamed of being poor –

I never left these shores.

Malcolm Evison
15/16 May 2009



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