the school where I studied
was named for a saint,
a woman, for us boys,
St Margaret’s Anfield,
then Aigburth, when the first
was gutted by a malfunctioning
organ’s electrical storm.

I learned everything
I needed to know
there about how time goes on, grows up
from short to long trousers;
How to pierce it
during the Civil War,
how to roll it up and down
a smooth inclined plane;
how time bathes
naked beneath King David’s window.

‘This is what time does’,
St Margaret said
as we smoked a fag
behind the bike sheds.
‘If you keep turning up,
you’ll find yourself
being gently martyred
on the great stone clock
of the brain.
It will tell you how wrong
it is to come clean,
open your heart.
And at the end of your so-called life,
(she leaned back against the wall
and unbuttoned her blouse),
the on-duty angel
will present you with
the grandest dunce’s cap
on the curriculum,
and that is heaven’.

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