Diary of the Plague Year: Day 39 23 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry David Morley (1964 -)

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BEARS

PawPaw and Paprika, two great bears of the Egyptians
of Lancashire, the Witches’ County, Chohawniskey Tem

who, when our camp plucked its tents and pulled out its maps,
walked steadily with the wagons, ambling, always ambling,

all across the open pages of wet England, footing
as far as Pappin-eskey Tem, the flat Duck County,

crossing to Curo-mengreskey Gav, the Boxers’ Town;
padded on to Paub-pawnugo Tem, Apple-Water County

as good for bears as for their Gypsy masters, although
who is master is moot after much apple-water;

then to bide by Bokra-mengreskey Tem, Shepherds’ County,
for their collies are trained not to bark at bears, but slyly, gently,
slink big-eyed as children behind their shepherd’s greeting.

 

Ambling, bears, always ambling … mooching to Mi-develeskey Tem,
My God’s Town, the God for all bears too,

God of pays and padding, of Polar, Kodiak and Koala;
Sniffing superiorly through Dinelo Tem, the Fools’ County;

circling with our circus to Shammin-engreskey Gav, Chairmakers’ Town,
nosing north through Lil-engreskey Gav, a Town Made of Readers,

then paws over eyes for Kaulo Gav, The Black Town;
joy at Jinney-mengreskey Gav, the Sharpers’ Town;

to Lancashire as it was then, wider country of white witches,
to the clean camps, to the great brown bears of the Egyptians.

To PawPaw and Paprika, backwards in time they go, pad pad. Goodbye.

 

The bears’ route: Lancashire to Lincolnshire to Nottingham to Herefordshire to Susses to Canterbury through Suffolk to Windsor through Oxford to Birmingham to Manchester and Lancashire.

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