This poem is taken from Stand 218, 16(2) May - June 2018.

John Challis Three Poems
The Knowledge

Not the knowledge chosen for the national
syllabus, nor knowledge scrawled by Mrs Smith
on the board in shaky chalk, but the knowledge
I heard my father practise, out loud after tea.

Not a knowledge of capital cities, of England’s
football captains, the number of caps of David Beckham,
nor any pub quiz question, but a knowledge of maps,
of London’s maps in more than three dimensions.

Maps that covered the dining room, a cheap print
of The Hay Wain, of Bubbles and our photographs.
Maps he rose each day to enter, a clipboard
on his handlebars, to expand his hippocampus.

Manor House to Gibson Square; Archway
to Gloucester Gate; Penn Street to Portland Place; 
Consort Road to MoD
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