I am a radio station, broadcasting to the world.
I am seven years old and I am sitting on a fence-post
overlooking the storm-field and the village beyond.

Being a radio station’s more fun than being a train.
I was a train for ages: an express, then a sleeper,
then a goods, and then an angry little shunter.

Nobody speaks to trains because they’re too busy.
But now I am a radio station, transmitting daily
to the far horizon – which is miles…

It’s a varied programme including music, religion
and talks, and remembered bits of Round the Horne
that I take in on my crystal set before I fall asleep.

Every ten minutes I recite the news – What Miss Sims
said to my mum and how Dolly Feaver the postmistress
is still beating Pickles with a stick – which is cruel.

Sometimes I run out of news and then I sing things.
My song becomes a naming and my naming is a world:
Robin Hood and Little John and a pair of long trousers,

and Brock’s Wood and the Hill and someone to talk to,
and the cedar and the elder and the elm and the oaks,
and the silver-back mole and the pheasant and the lark,

and the weasel that steals the pheasant’s eggs,
and the rooks and the rabbits, and nettles and docks
and the storm on the corn, and the clouds, and God…


William Ayot