Peter Ebsworth

Leaving Impressions

It is often the case that if someone dies
in their chair at home, it becomes them.

Dad was discharged from Lincoln Hospital as
his myelomas had spread too much for treatment;
only lasted two more days, suffered a heart attack
in the armchair, a foot from and turned towards Mum,

who began to cry each time family and neighbours
came, as she pointed out the chair’s impressions.
I stayed on after the funeral passed; decided to try
and convince Mum she should move back to Essex.

My older brother Derek and his family were long
settled in Southend. Moving nearby them might
mean Mum could enjoy lots of regular company.
Staying with me before the Southend move, I persuaded
her it was better for us to remember Dad in his armchair
at my childhood home in Romford, especially on Wednesday
afternoons when he’d fill in his football pools coupon,

each draw chosen, firmly pressed with a cross, prepared
for the Vernon’s man who’d come to collect his stake,
leaving Dad his copy to check, as he listened
to the results the following Saturday afternoon;
always wholly attentive, with a boyish smile on his face.
Mum would say quietly to me ‘we never win anything’
but still managed a matching smile at Dad’s optimism

as he ticked the draws he got right; ready to anticipate
the time had come for us to achieve that second big win.

Peter found that City Lit was the perfect place to help him make the career change from teacher to a poet and founding editor of his own urban poetry magazine. ‘I first heard about City Lit when I decided to take a year off unpaid from teaching to try and do some writing…Within a couple of years I’d moved to getting poetry published regularly in magazines and journals.  I set up a magazine which is South Bank Poetry Magazine. I’m founding editor, published the first issue in 2008 and we’ve had 25 issues now.’ ‘I love the study centre actually because I don’t use a computer at home, I’m dyspraxic and I use it really as my office; I’ve run a poetry magazine basically from City Lit.’