Ring Around the Moon
Nightfall over deepest, darkest, Deptford.
Sam said, “Crikey – that’s torn it!”
“What’s torn what?” I asked; our tent
we’d that second put up. Pegs are hard
to hammer in when you’re seven
and three quarters...least of all I was;
Sam weren’t yet seven and an ’alf.
“Look up there!” he yelled, pointing
at the sky. His idea – this camping lark
in the first place – in our backyard,
and our mums had said we could.
He was one of them sissy cub-scouts,
and he’d ‘twisted my arm’; swapped
me a Tonka truck for my Dinky lorry.
Anyway, he lets on, that this old man
he’d met, hung out in the park, had said,
“When next you glimpses one of them,
lad...a ring around the moon, it means
the end of the world is nigh, and all of us
is doomed. Mark my words, son.
This shall be thy only warning!”
Told Sam he was a liar and a ‘scumbag’
and all. He’d gone and made it up
just so he could scare me, but he swore
on his dead gerbil’s grave, he’d not,
and anyway, he was shit-scared too,
he confided. Petrified, we were;
rooted to the spot, afraid to move.
Prayers – our only option; Sam’s to God
and mine to Superman; would he save us,
please? We’d be out in our backyard
in the red-brick terraced house
at the junction of Parade Street...
’cos that was where we lived; well,
I did, but Sam was from next door.
He’d spot us for sure, I concluded.
Two boys, in their West Ham claret
and blues...scanning the skies,
waiting to be rescued...And,
for the end of the world...
as we knew it.