Friday, 25 January 2008


Little red sports car cutting a dash on the Downs
Attracting admiring glances as it zipped into town
Just past rock ‘n’ roll, driving into the swinging 60’s
David Hemmings-like occupant with wind-feathered hair
Equally glam blonde beside him, more often than not

And then one day he drew up and asked her out on the prom
Looked around, but no one else there.
She couldn’t believe it.
Was he taking the biscuit?
Should she turn him down, or should she risk it?
Not pretty enough, not confident.
She’d never keep him
Her fears prevailed and she refused him
Though he still pursued her on and off
In-between other girls.
Eventually a man she could accept
And a life less glittering.

Years went by and she bumped into Peter
Still handsome and bronzed over twenty years later.
Still single too,
Though no red sports car.
Blushes exchanged, he greeted me and my sister
Caught up with my mother as they shared some tea
Reluctantly parting, eyes red-regretful.

Two years later one breakfast, a Solicitor’s letter,
Found dead in his flat by the electric board man,
Alone. Unexplained. At forty five.
Father grunted. Our mother turned away.

Sometimes I still ponder on little red sports cars,
Opportunity and waste,
And what fear has forged my legacy...

© LS King 2003


Anonymous said...

I just noticed your little subtext next to my link on your sidebar! Now I feel all guilty for being here when I should be working!!!

I loved this.

We all have our own little "what ifs" don't we? I know I have mine. I often wonder how they might have changed my life and those of other people - for better or for worse. The secret is to keep them as "what ifs", and not let them become "if onlys".

Beautiful writing. And very sad.

I'm going to get on with some work now, honest, Guv!

Anonymous said...

Oh and I meant to say (yes, I know I should be working!) that I need an "other" category on your poetry quiz.

It is true that I don't buy books of poetry. Not for any of the reasons on your list but just because I don't think poems go in books - lots of poems one after the other. Do you know what I mean? I know it is impractical but I like my poetry to be something I stumble across - like here on a blog, not something where I open a book and decide to read it. It is a bit like being forcefed somehow.

Really going now!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Hello RB. Just my little joke (but really she should be teaching!) inspired by the fact that you had called yourself Reluctant Blogger!

But really, we should all be doing something else, I'm sure!

Sorry the but the poetry poll won't let me add any additional answers or I would incorporate your excellent suggestion! And it's not fully behaving either showing both screens at once - I have alerted blogger.

Wise words about 'What if's' versus 'If onlys'. And sometimes one can add to one's regrets by trying *too* hard to keep them to a minimum of course! If only we had the foresight to have more hindsight, eh?

Rol Hirst said...

As I've probably said before, I always prefer a story in poetry, and this was one of your best. Another thing I like (being a big Simon Armitage fan, and a slightly less big Larkin supporter) is the use of very down-to-earth, conversational language in poetry... so you're scoring top marks here.

Loved the "Two years later..." section.

Steve said...

A poem with a resonant kick to the innards in every sense. That ending came out of the blue and really deepened the tone of the whole. One for the collection methinks...

Dan said...

Very interesting - at first it seems somewhat cliched - a stereotype depicted, and then with the denouement, as steve says - it packs a punch, stripping bare the surface glamour.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Cheers for the comments folks. I think family stories often make the most interesting narrative poems, tho' it is a medium I manage to write all too rarely.
It is nice to post this as I never really perform it, not regarding it as a performance piece, but maybe I should give it a go.
I think you saw it when blogger had jumbled the lines up a little Dan, (it is playing me up something rotten at the moment!), but I did want to capture that sense of life seeming simpler/more 'black and white' in the early 60's in the first half. And also how people's decisions were often more final somehow in those days, and even the outcomes.
It is heartening that so many of you seem to think it works as it is a poem I have never been quite sure of, but am rather attached to!
If my blogging skills permitted me to put music to it, I'd like to have teamed it with St Etienne's Only Love Can Break Your Heart.

Anonymous said...

I think this would make a good performance piece. It's certainly moving and personal, and I think most people could relate.

Mrs. G. said...

Wistful and sad. Beautiful post. We all have those little red sports cars in our past.