Thursday, 10 May 2012

They Call It ‘Grooming’

Now they call it 'grooming'
but the Swinging Sixties
was a decade lost for words,
certainly those the  press serves up,
all righteous indignation and disgust;
though it happened then, just the same,
just as it happened to me.
Grown men took our hopes
in their calloused hands
and caressed pale curve of our breasts,
then they laid us down in the dreary dark
to croon  their secret songs.

One man I knew, his name was Peter,
staked out the public library after school
and waited there, a lazy shark,
through summer's steaming heat.
A little man and cramped he was
who somewhere had a wife
who inhabited her sadness
in a three-room council flat
and waited while he wooed me
with the ardour of his ways.
He held my hand down muddy paths
to where he took my trust.
'Feel this,' he said, then thrust
me where I did not want to go.
There , in the dark, beneath the trees,
too scared, too proud to flinch;
and, afterwards, I worried
that my mother’s heart would know.

And then, next day, in morning prayers,
'Jerusalem' rang out;
and, while I felt my innards churn
I prayed it was undone.
I bore the pain above my thighs
but could not grasp my loss:
I had looked for love but missed my step
and all my long, sweet youth.

© Abigail Wyatt

Grooming convictions are 'fantastic result for British justice'

Abigail is the 2012 winner of the Lisa Thomas Poetry Award. Her collection, 'Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories' , will be published by One Million Stories early in 2012.