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Image by Caroline Forbes

Poem introduction

This is called 'Red Boots On'. It has been set to music, it's a very stomp-like little poem, but almost too much so for setting to music, really, you need a bit more freedom, I think, as a composer for these things to do a bit of portamento but this is pretty emphatic in its rhythms. In the late 1960s I taught at a little university in Canada, not so little now, called Brock, a university in St Catherine's, and one winter of very heavy snowfall, my girlfriend was running down the street, and kicking up the snow wearing these new red boots of which she was very proud, and I thought that the red boots against the white snow were an almost filmic image of happiness, really. So it's a four-square poem really about happiness which is something I find quite difficult to do. All the proper names in it, apart from hers, which is Mary Lou, are names of streets in the town.

Red Boots On

Way down Geneva,
All along Vine,
Deeper than the snow drift
Love's eyes shine:

Mary Lou's walking
In the winter time.

She's got

Red boots on, she's got
Red boots on,
Kicking up the winter,
Till the winter's gone.

So

Go by Ontario,
Look down Main,
If you can't find Mary Lou,
Come back again:

Sweet light burning
In winter's flame.

She's got

Snow in her eyes, got
A tingle in her toes
And new red boots on
Wherever she goes

So

All around Lake Street,
Up by St. Paul,
Quicker than the white wind
Love takes all:

Mary Lou's walking
In the big snow fall.

She's got

Red boots on, she's got
Red boots on
Kicking up the winter
Till the winter's gone.


from Hoping it Might be So (Leviathan, 2000), copyright © Kit Wright 2000, used by permission of the author

Recordings

Kit Wright Reading from his Poems

1Advice for Attending a Hundredth Birthday Party

2Mantles

3Waiting for the 242

4Hoping it Might be So

5Missing, 1944

6Belongings

7Sonnet for Dick

8The Day Room

9How The Wild South East Was Lost

10The Adventures of Patience

11Tune for an Ice Cream Van

12The Apprehenders

13Elizabeth

14The Council of the Gods

15Red Boots On

16I Found South African Breweries Most Hospitable

17Hardly Believable Horace and Hattie in Hell

18Short Afternoons

19The Sub-Song

20Moorhouse

21Ode to Didcot Power Station

22The Boys Bump-Starting the Hearse

23The Yoke

24A Horrid Old Man Reads A Cookery Book

25A Light Toast

26The Orbison Consolations

27Every Day In Every Way

Books & cds by Kit Wright