Issue > Poetry
David Cooke

David Cooke

David Cooke was born in England, although his family roots are in Ireland. His poems and reviews have appeared widely in the UK, Ireland and beyond. His latest collection, Work Horses, was published in 2012 by Ward Wood Publishing. His next collection, A Murmuration, is due out in 2015 from Two Rivers Press.

My Grandson Writes His Name

—for Ziyad
The first letter he has known for months
in zig-zag lines getting nowhere.

Turned on its side and crayoned blue
he can stretch it out like a river;

or if he changes colour can make
a mountain, some grass, a fire.

Cut back to its simplest form
and laid out in rows like ghosts,

he follows the dots over and over
before he does it on his own.

When he learns its sound is a buzz
he likes, he hears it and sees it again

in the stripes of zebra,
in the bars of a place called zoo.

He has five shapes to master.
They stand above or hang below

a line that's always there—
even if you think it's vanished.

But when it all comes together
in a final downward stroke  

—staunch and straight as he will be—
it tells him who he is,

this name he has always heard
ever since he's been here.


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