At the dump, around a bonfire, we sat,
Listening to music, until the police came,
Then left us to our speed-fuelled chat;
The music turned off by him-of-no-name.
Unnoticed by me, it was getting light;
And He-of-no-name was suddenly;
Standing in front of you, poised for a fight,
And pointing to the sun aggressively.
And as he ranted and shouted at you
I tried to imagine the row’s beginning;
What did you say to him? What did you do?
Why did he want to send your “Head spinning”?
Evidently, he felt the need to declare
To everyone else, (so it seemed to me)
That “Everything comes from that up there”,
As if he’d just had an epiphany.
But it was to you alone that he said,
(And it must have hurt like a cut with a knife)
After he’d threatened to kick in your head;
“Get out there; make something of your life!”
Some of us grinned at your humiliation
But not me, though I said and did nothing;
Being then a kid in that situation;
I was much younger, and he wasn’t bluffing.
I thought of you then as a wary soul;
A scared deer before a hunter’s gun,
And he put me in mind of a bullying troll,
As he said, “Get to know it”, meaning the sun.
I’d like to say I offered you compassion
But I merely stared as you walked away.
The party carried on after a fashion,
Albeit the night then turning to day.
All this happened nearly forty years ago;
I’ve since seen it posted that you’re now dead;
A photograph with comments below;
You were well loved and popular they said.
I remember you as a sensitive man
With an open face (like the photograph),
A reader of classics, a Rolling Stones fan,
An extrovert, with an infectious laugh.
How did his actions affect you that night?
Did you strive in vain to leave it behind?
Did the anguish remain, try as you might,
To erase its stain from the back of your mind?
For you were sensitive, as already stated;
An easy target for a bully to hit,
And harsh words can be highly elevated;
Many a conflict starts with bullshit.
As for him-of-no-name; he found the lord,
And became religious apparently.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses struck a chord
With him (although not with his family).
I wonder if he felt the urge to repent
Upon finding out that you’d passed away
Did he realise the extent of the torment
That you surely felt on that long ago day?
In my mind’s eye, he’s always the bully,
Unmindful of what he put you through.
And if I now know the sun more fully,
It’s not because he, long ago, told me to.