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White Hair
by Carole Coates

Once upon a time, we were out walking
one fine May morning,
Catherine and me in the Coulston Road
in denims and long, long hair.

Two young men were out walking,
strolling behind us
and started the old routine,

“Hey blondie, hey gorgeous!
What about a kiss then?”

and we turned round and smiled
our hearts full of malice
but mildly saying
“Didn’t that give you a fright, then?”

“Sorry ma’am. Sorry ma’am,”
the young men apologised,
horrified, horrified,
as we were as old as their mothers.

So I cut off my hair
out of pity for poor young men.

But now it’s gone white
I will grow it and grow it
and go walking in Springtime
in denims and long, long hair.

And all the young men shall be safe.

Now, there are men, I’m told
who find white hair sexy.
I’ve never met one
but he would be thumb-sucking and fattish
with a heart full of malice.
Don’t trust him.

© Carole Coates 2005

Chinese Kite

The kite that they always wanted to fly
and launched from various places round the Bay
from Grange and Warton and Arnside
and the puddled shore of Silverdale –
has fallen, fragmented, dispersed
into scraps of red dragon, green dragon
and yellow ribbon slimed in marsh and mudflat
between the Kent Channel and the Keer Channel
and on the littered tideline of Morecambe –
pushed to the edge, on the very edge of things.

In memory of the Chinese Cocklers.

Copyright © Carole Coates 2004.

Chinese Kite is published here with the kind permission of Alan Dent, Editor of The Penniless Press, Preston.




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Carole Coates’ poetry collection The Goodbye Edition will be published in July 2005 by Shoestring Press. Originally from London, she studied English and took her doctorate at Exeter University.

She spent many years as an academic in higher and adult education, during which time she published critical and professional writings; John Cowper Powys in Search of a Landscape (Macmillan) and an edition of Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads ( Heinemann Poetry Bookshelf ).

She has been widely published in the literary press, has been placed in many competitions and has been holder of a Yorkshire Arts Award. She is a member of Sixpoets and is married with one daughter.

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