Poem, Poetry

Richard Carpenter

The Chandler

His father taught him how to form the models:
the swollen leg that drags across the floor,
the hand left weak and useless by the palsy,
the head visited by insistent pain.

His father taught him how to run a workshop:
how to keep the ledger to satisfy the tally man,
how to keep a record when he’s paid his help,
how to keep a check on orders.

His father is not here now to advise him:
to help him raise a loan to keep afloat,
to put an arm around his shoulders as he weeps,
to guide him when he has to let her go.

His father taught him how to form the models:
the guild master who will not help him furlough,
the drunken youths clustering the streets,
the adviser making his own rules.

His father showed him where to put the wick
and watch the models burn down slowly,
listen as the flame gutters in the draughts,
mutter revenge spells to the molten wax.

Richard Carpenter is a GP who has been writing since his retirement. He is a member of York Stanza. ‘Dippy Thumbs a Lift’ gained a second prize in 2019 YorkMix children’s poetry competition.