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The Entertainer

Sometimes, after tea, when my brothers and I
Played in the garden, I sensed at the window
Our parents’ faces, and knew that they were happy.

This made me want to orchestrate the play,
Being the eldest, the impresario,
But still present a seeming spontaneity,

Watchful in case the game flagged or a quarrel broke out.
It mattered somehow to put on a show
Which proved we were that family I’d heard about:

Where parents wash the tea things, talking quietly
And children play as they are meant to do —
Under smiling eyes, under an elm tree.

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by the author