Sheenagh Pugh’s ‘Golden Boy’

  
Golden  Boy
Sheenagh Pugh
 
          25 November 2005
 
 
A white day
to go: November slipping
away underfoot,
 
rusting
or jaundiced, brittle with frost.
Your face,
 
fine-boned
even now, not drowned in flesh,
but turned to gold,
 
skin beaten out
to the thinnest leaf,
a god’s mask,
 
if gods could die
or come to grief. That sheen,
as if death
 
refined you,
burned off the slag, left only
the right metal,
 
unalloyed,
the flash of talent, the joy
speeding and weaving
 
to its goal,
baffling all challenge, laughing
at its gift.
 
We grow up:
put away childish things, stop
hoping for fame
 
or genius,
same as the rest. But just
now and then,
 
a man rises
above everyday, a man
like us,
 
and we fly
a little way on his uplift.
What if
 
he comes down
in the end to ruin?
It is the brief
 
instant aloft,
the leaving earth, that lives,
as when a boy,
 
falling,
still glowed from having once
touched the sun.
 
 
  
This poem was first published in PN Review.  It appears in Sheenagh Pugh’s current collection, Long-Haul Travellers (Seren, 2008).
  
Order your copy of Long-Haul Travellers here or here.
 
Visit Sheenagh’s website.

3 thoughts on “Sheenagh Pugh’s ‘Golden Boy’

  1. Michelle Post author

    Isn’t it striking?

    Sheenagh tells me it’s about football legend, George Best.

    Thanks for letting me post the poem, Sheenagh.

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