Chris Kinsey

Chris Kinsey with greyhound. Chris has been dubbed Greyhounds' Poet Laureate
Chris Kinsey with greyhound

           Sunday Shoes

This poem is from Swarf published by Smokestack Books in 2011.

           When church preached its sacred mysteries
           I always thought of dad’s shoes and his shed.
           Polished, light tan, Sunday best shoes -
           so unlike his work boots,
           sooty toecaps nicked with steel scars
           like miniature domes of night sky,
           oily with Wren’s Liquid Dubbin,

           I didn’t realise, when I snatched the packet
           from a Woolworth’s spike and helped to officiate
           the Stick-a-sole ceremony, that I, too, was being prepared.
           I roughed each leather sole with a wire brush,
           resisted the urge to bite the shiny rubber soles
           that would coat his tread like liquorice whirls.
           I stood back when he hammered segs into heels and toes,
           clamoured to have them on my shoes so I could stride,
           and strike sparks, though he was at pains to silence his.
           When he knelt to pray, I thought the silver crescents
           a gift from the patron saint of Blacksmiths.

           The strong glue set me tracking the Holy Spirit
           to the shelves of the shed: to White Spirit
           and Esso Blue, aromatic liquids with volatile halos,
           violet Meths the colour of Lent vestments.
           Was the Feast of Pentecost done
           with sneaky flicks of cigarette lighters?
           I sampled 3 in 1 oil as it suckled my bike chain
           and prepared for the grace of sensation,
           the sacrament of words. Later, I relished Hopkins:
           All things counter, original, spare, strange:
           because I trusted his ooze of oil crushed.

           Those tan shoes outlasted my churchgoing.


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