Timothy Winters

Timothy Winters comes to school
With eyes as wide as a football pool,
Ears like bombs and teeth like splinters:
A blitz of a boy is Timothy Winters.

His belly is white, his neck is dark,
And his hair is an exclamation mark.
His clothes are enough to scare a crow
And through his britches the blue winds blow.

When teacher talks he won’t hear a word
And he shoots down dead the arithmetic-bird,
He licks the patterns off his plate
And he’s not even heard of the Welfare State.

Timothy Winters has bloody feet
And he lives in a house on Suez Street,
He sleeps in a sack on the kitchen floor
And they say there aren’t boys like him any more.

Old Man Winters likes his beer
And his missus ran off with a bombardier,
Grandma sits in the grate with a gin
And Timothy’s dosed with an aspirin.

The Welfare Worker lies awake
But the law’s as tricky as a ten-foot snake,
So Timothy Winters drinks his cup
And slowly goes on growing up.

At Morning Prayers the Master helves
For children less fortunate than ourselves,
And the loudest response in the room is when
Timothy Winters roars ‘Amen!’

So come one angel, come on ten:
Timothy Winters says ‘Amen
Amen amen amen amen.’
Timothy Winters, Lord.


People always ask me whether this was a real boy. My God, he certainly was. Poor old boy I don’t know where he is now. I was thunderstruck when people thought I’d made it up! – he was a real bloke. Poor little devil.

Copyright: from Collected Poems 1951-2000 (Picador, 2000), copyright © Estate of Charles Causley 2000, used by permission of David Higham Associates.

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