He held us to account with a crooked eye
and an unnervingly accurate chalk-shot.
We were constantly aware and ready
but couldn’t gauge his unpredictability,
one of us always took the marksman’s shot.
With black cape inflated
he swept down to recover his missile,
then returning to the green blackboard
squeaked long words that bled white dust.

Spinning then stopping the earth with a finger,
watching us from two directions, he said ‘China.’
What did we care? Margate was a foreign land to us,
its sandy beach and flashing fairground
where we could only lounge and stare
with the nonchalance of longing.
Our geography was the dingle by the railway,
hazlewoods for Tarzanning, the railway line,
caves in white cliffs above the channel
beyond which great cargo vessels passed.
We had one eye only on that moving seascape
lacking his crooked view to foreign lands.

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