Tuesday, 16 August 2016
poetry 2016 / 087
Everyone's A Loser
A handful of copper coins
my hand green from holding them so tightly
reluctant to spend even one
of the twelve our father gave us.
They have to last us an hour
among the whistles and ringing bells.
My sister plays the one arm bandits,
wins sixpence on the penny falls,
a shilling on the Allwin spiral
then loses it all on the grab-a-doll.
I am drawn to the fanfare bugle;
the taran-tara of the horse racing game.
There's a trick to this. A penny bet
on one of six horses along the motor driven
four feet of dome-covered metal grass.
Red and blue, easy bets at tuppence win,
green for threepence, yellow for sixpence
and white will net you a shilling
if you're the luck of the Maker.
Not God, we understand, but the man
who made the machine and always wins.
I want to bet on the black horse
but there's no button to press.