Tuesday Poem: Martin Figura's 'Whistle'

 This poem comes from the compelling narrative sequence of poems 'Whistle' by Martin Figura, published by Arrowhead Poetry.  For a full review of the collection and the context of the poem please click here.

Strange Boy

We believe there is a one in ten chance
the boy will inherit it from his father
The boy is top in maths
He is near the bottom of the class in everything else
He writes wild imaginative essays with little regard
for spelling or grammar
He cries easily
The boy’s house is Belmont 47 (a prime number)
We know he steals, but are letting it go for now
We also know he smokes
He pulls a face when he concentrates
The other boys have noticed this
The boy is left here during half-term breaks
He occupies himself with dice games of cricket and football
that can take days to complete
They are too complex for anyone else to participate in
The boy maintains a number of statistical graphs
He is a good goalkeeper
He has made some friends through football
He has invented an elaborate past
He carries a 1966-67 News of the World Football Year Book at all times
Father William lets him complete his pools coupon
He has had some small successes

Copyright Martin Figura
reproduced with permission.

Martin Figura was born in Liverpool in 1956 and works part-time at the Writers’ Centre, Norwich and as a photographer. He is a member of the poetry ensemble The Joy of 6. A spoken word version of his new collection Whistle (Arrowhead Press, 2010) is being toured by Apples and Snakes. He is Chair of the Café Writers Live Literature organisation in Norwich.

For a review of the whole collection please visit http://www.kathleenjonesdiary.blogspot.com

For  more stunning Tuesday Poems please visit the website at  http://www.tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com


  1. This seems so measured and calm, but with an unspoken grief lurking between the lines. Martin's story behind the collection is so moving - what an incredible experience seeing the images and poems together, Kathleen. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. I think that is the most striking thing about the poems - what is not said but is implicit.

  3. Two new discoveries for me - the poet, and your review blog! He sounds like a poet for me to watch out for.


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