Playground ii by Ede Stein

New Boy

by Ros Barber

He is walking a line; his footsteps mark a square
around the playground.  The others forget his name:
a boy that isn’t really anywhere.

Wherever he was just then, he isn’t there
but somewhere further along, just out of frame.
He is walking a line; his footsteps mark a square

enclosing his teacher, enclosing the autumn air.
She blames no-one, knowing she cannot blame
a boy that isn’t really anywhere.

He is more than alone.  While other children pair
off by the fence and a penalty kicker takes aim,
he is walking a line.  His footsteps mark a square

like the edge of a board, a game of solitaire.
He doesn’t seem to know another game.
A boy that isn’t really anywhere

is on the perimeter.  You’d think he doesn’t care
about being different.  But still, and just the same,
he is walking a line; his footsteps mark a square,
a boy, that isn’t really anywhere.

Previously published in Poetry Review (1999) and The School Year: Three Terms of Poems, edited by Brian Moses (MacMillan Children’s Books, 2001).

Written on November 18th, 2011 , poem Tags: ,

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    Dave Randall commented

    My God – people still write villanelles? Bravo!

    December 2, 2011 at 5:26 am
      rosbarber commented

      Maybe not so much in the US. In England, there’s a bit of a New Formalist movement. Not that I would admit to being part of any such thing. I just like form.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:38 am
    Maya commented

    you are really fanastic,i like the way you write ,wish you all the best.

    April 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

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Ros Barber

Novelist, poet, scholar