Two Pay Cheques Away
My thoughts elsewhere,
outwith the kitchen diorama of my everyday –
fridge-freezer growling, kettle idling by the stove,
loaf cooling, coffee percolator uncomposted,
a distribution of knives, unused utensils,
spring flowers stockpiled by the sink,
ready to replace the wilted stems
in jugs and jam-jars round the house.
Outside, the sun positions itself
between the poplars, someone has leaned
a garden fork, a barrowful of muck,
there’s a robin with his philosopher’s eye,
speculating on grubs and worms, a drowse
of bees, the tsip and sree of wagtails,
finches, goldcrests and a blackbird
silvering the woods with song.
In Yearlings Drove new watercress beds
eel through the shirred brown fields and
on the gatepost for friends or callers,
a scribbled note “Gone Crabbin.”
Red cattle shoulder shade along the river,
fringed by dogwood, rosebay willow
and a haze of midge. An old dog dozes
in his barrel, off duty till the lambing’s done.
Two pay cheques from such easy-over everydays,
basking like that old dog in the sun, lie hidden rapids,
the hair-pin bends of otherness, of strangers’ turned up collars,
sideways glances, homelessness, the hunkered buildings
braced and boarded, spray-can graffiti screaming from the walls,
youth emptied out, the dried up, squeezed-out lives
with no respite from living, just the hungry ache
of holding on, unarmed, defenceless, junked.
Lesley Quayle is a widely published, prizewinning poet and a folk/blues singer currently living in Dorset.