Essex Lion

So there we were, like every year,
just up the road from Clacton pier
the summer coughing up its last
the whiff of burger, clink of glass
at Bab’s and Brian’s caravan
(the children palmed off on their nan)
about to have a Bar-be-que,
perhaps a Chardonnay or two,

then chew the fat and smoke cigars,
talk football, property and cars
and let the evening ebb away
in creamy, moonlit rever-ay.
When Barbara squawked: Oh Lord, fuck me
and all and sundry turned to see
a cat-like beast. By Christ, said Brian,
is that…it is…a fucking LION!

A fucking lion, a fucking lion!
That peaceful Clacton campsite nigh on
went berserk. Atomic warning:
campers diving into awnings,
sausages on grills abandoned,
couples pegging it in tandem.
But I just stopped and gazed in wonder
at the great beast standing yonder.

Silhouette on low-slung sunset,
worlds away from sick-slick pundits
talent shows and loan re-payments,
tabloid headlines, mortgage statements
school fees, Top Gear, work and taxes,
forms, lists, vote-slips, e-mails, faxes.
Often I think we’re just prisoners
but that lion was the business.

Stoked up coals inside of me
that I’ve not felt since ’93
then vanished in a kick of dust
and left me in the Essex dusk.
Officer, I swear to you
I’d only had a can or two.
Ask Babs and Linda, we’re not lying
we fucking saw a fucking lion.

We fucking did, it weren’t a dog
no ghost hound from an Essex bog.
It as good as made a beeline
for us and that thing was feline.
Officer! ask Steve, ask Gabby
that was no domestic tabby.
Feeding that thing would get trying –
a Paradise Lost of fucking Iams.

A fucking lion, a fucking lion!
I’ll still swear it when I’m dying.
Officer don’t be a benny
the thing we saw was MGM-y!
A fucking lion, a fucking lion
Aslan’s nephew, Simba’s scion!
A fucking lion, bonefide
the sort of thing what’s got a pride.

A fucking lion, a fucking lion
a fucking lion, a fucking lion
I’ll make this plain, I’m not insane
that creature had a cunting mane.

unpublished poem, © Luke Wright 2015, used by permission of the author.

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