One day, no, it was one night actually,
it snowed in our village –
no, it’s not a proper village,
just a hamlet on Dartmoor –
no, not on Dartmoor,
technically on the edge of the moor,
with a proper little village chapel
and a proper little village pub –
oh, and a phone box
and a war memorial, of course –
you’ve got to have a war memorial.
This snow we had was Dartmoor snow –
proper stuff, settling properly,
looking convincingly fantastic.
The light was snow light
and snow light is something to see,
clean and pure as best grade moonlight –
ever so white, ever so bright,
but, sort of, even gentler and lighter.
No messing about,
this was snow you could take a shovel too
and move in obligingly proper cubes,
like a giant’s version of cubed sugar.
Sam and Ellie from the barn
at the bottom of our garden,
(it isn’t a barn anymore, it’s a proper house
and our garden’s a proper country garden,
with scruffy cobbled areas,
a perfumery of a rosebush in summer
and comfrey all over the place)
Sam and Ellie had got up very early.
They were young teenagers, at this stage,
replaying Christmas and we heard them,
before the light came in, building a snowman,
excitedly giggling, under the one streetlamp
by the sad little war memorial.
When it was light we looked out
of our little window
to see the result of their handiwork
and there it was –
a five foot tall penis, complete with balls
and a riot of twigs pushed in
around the scrotum,
which added the perfect touch of knowledge
and intimacy to their masterpiece.
I thought of Rome and of Pompei
and our honeymooning, appropriately, there.
Thanks to Sam and Ellie,
it all came flooding back – our wayward nights
among those mosaics of outrageous cocks.
We looked at them (it was allowed back then)
and we saw how a man weighed his equipment
on marketplace scales, to measure his manhood,
to do it justice. And, as if this wasn’t enough,
he commissioned, as door guardian,
a beautiful giant hard-on.
They didn’t need red Ferraris back then, or
drunken fisherman’s tell-tale stretched out arms –
these Roman lads, they had their talents.
Wouldn’t it be kind of awesome
to have such a monument, ornament,
sacred prick outside your house –
a good deal more show-stopping
than a garden gnome pissing.
Nobody in our village took down
Sam and Ellie’s potent, enormous confection –
they knew it was temporary, after all.
Frank took a picture and put it up on the web
under local news. It was the biggest thing
that had happened in Scoriton for a long time,
and it lasted a satisfyingly long time,
being checked and rechecked
on how well it stood up,
until it was inevitably spent.
Being mindful, I was put in mind
of the road junction at Dartington,
and the huge phallus once daubed
on the tarmac there,
This one, also, given enough hairs
to make a pair of balls convincing.
The good people of Dartington,
unlike the ancient populace of Athens,
for instance, who were well known
for their love of Priapus and his genitalia,
exercised their democratic right
and complained to the local council,
just as moorland ramblers would do here,
I guess, if we swapped our stone pixy
on the mounting block outside our door
for a much larger erection.
Susan Taylor lives on Dartmoor and loves the enigma of rural living. Her latest poetry collection is Temporal Bones from Oversteps Books. A new work, The Weather House, written with poet Simon Williams, appears shortly from Indigo Dreams. Watch out for The Weather House poetry show next year! See .susantaylor.co.uk