A slumber party thunderstorm was brilliant —
the room illuminating like an X-ray,
the steady counting, then the thunder’s bellow.
Each second that we counted was a mile
though someone always said it stood for streets
and we’d allow ourselves to play that game.
Three seconds from the flash to clap was school.
Two seconds and I reckon that’s Miss Powell’s.
Now barely one, It’s probably hit the Spar.
Our lightning strikes would laser half the town,
take down the crappy landmarks of our youth.
A childhood, if you’re lucky, should be this.
Safe enough to bathe for fun in terror
knowing that there’s parents in the lounge
who’d have a plan if horror ever came.
But now we’re in our thirties lightning’s striking
them. Our parents. At first, it seems far off.
The count between the flash and clap so long
you barely notice; miles, not streets away.
But before long it’s close, it’s months not years.
And then you know it’s you who needs the plan.
Luke Wright has been described as “one of the funniest and most brilliant poets of his generation” by The Independent. He writes bawdy bar room ballads about Westminster rogues and small town tragedies. He is a regular on BBC Radio 4 and the author of seven one man poetry shows, touring with them all over the world. His debut collection, ‘Mondeo Man’ was published in 2013 to great acclaim.
Editor’s Note: ‘Thunder, Lightning etc.’ appears in the Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014 anthology, and appears here with kind permission from the poet and the publisher.