Front page news

  • Posted on February 8, 2012 at 9:22 am

David Walliams swam 140 miles up the Thames for sports charity in September 2011. He did in fact save a dog on his way. The articles appeared in The Metro on September 13.

On the day a man swims the Thames
and raises a million for all those miles,
a boy, 10, goes back to school a girl.
Together, they are front page news on every seat
on trains in and out of London today.

And tomorrow, one will have a bath
and be glad he’s going nowhere except
to a fluffy embrace, be dry, warm – and will
reminisce about the day he also saved a dog,
and talk, and tell and forever be – the man
who swam the Thames.

The other has plunged into a turbulence –
white water with only his body board, and miles
ahead, so many miles, and his alone to leave behind,
in swirling judgement of parents unwilling to see
the reach of an unfamiliar stroke, of a girl
in a class of her own.

One page – picked up, picked over, passport of a morning
and tired but persistent on the journey home –
carries its stories to three million hands (and a million
pounds for the courage in a river no surprise) –
but the courage of a daughter born a boy?

Reported ignorance, condemnation, shock and taunts –
protests at ‘lack of consultation’ by the school
reflected in uncharitable commuter chat and chafe –
and the prayers of many quiet knowing hearts in stations
everywhere, who have travelled home this way before.

2011 © Andie Davidson

From the new collection Realisations published by Bramley Press.

 

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