A Bench for Billie Holiday
I would not put a bench for you in Harlem,
Or Philadelphia where you were born,
But a suburban park in Hillingdon,
Where I once would sit, young, and quite alone.
Growing up, and your songs were in my head
With the melancholy of teenage years.
Although you had been five years dead,
You spoke to me, and all your doubts and fears
Seemed mine. The Sixties in west London,
Not for me a swinging decade, or town,
I was in love but knew no abandon
Just, ‘Good morning heartache, sit down’.
Fifty-four years on, my thanks go out to you,
Old man hums, ‘What a little moonlight can do!’
Title poem from A Bench for Billie Holiday [Valley Press, October 2018]