Robert Nisbet, “Golden Boy”

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has been published widely in Britain and the USA. In 2017 he was shortlisted for the Wordsworth Trust Prize in the UK, and he has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in the US.

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Golden Boy

Hugo had hairy legs and we had goose bumps,
that summer in the lido (we were all fifteen).
He’d stroke a languid way down-pool
for half an hour or so, while we, shrieking,
dive-bombed, arse-first, off the springboard.
Then, on a packed spectator bank,
he’d stretch and brown himself,
turn golden in the sun.

That was his way through school,
and later. He did well, I suppose.
Made money and influence and enemies.

I remember best though, back in school days,
the night we had that leaving dance
(some of us going off soon to the tech).
And Hugo clearly fancied pretty Hetty.
But there by the cloakrooms, midnight,
our Hetty cuddled up to me and Harry
(two of the lido goose-bump boys),
slipped her hands through our arms,
bonding us in a sexy, rugby-style front row,
saying “Walk me home, boys?” Yup. Will do.

We walked her back, squeezing, giggling,
the mile and a half to her parents’ house,
cherishing that last sight of Hugo, in the doorway,
drawing morosely on a cig.

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