Thursday, 23 June 2011


Those feeble, ulcerated legs
which cannot support your shrunken body
are the powerful pistons that
drove your heavy old bike to work.

Your faltering, tearful voice speaks,
but your bellows echo down the years.

"Look at that silly tit over there"
A nurse smiles back from her patient labour.

"No bloody rabbit food or foreign muck for me"
You eat the steamed fish and salad in a plastic dish.
All politeness and compliance to
the faces of black doctors and staff
serving food you would have thrown in mum's face.

"Want a new suit boy?" You grinned
as you came in from the betting shop.

"STAND STILL! Too late it's in the tree."
Your pigeons were a fascination, but a terror too.
Excited by you clocking the winning bird,
and knowing that a loser would be my fault.

"Bloody Arabs 'll cut your throat as soon as look at ya."
The ranted bigotry lived on
fifty years after a brief military
encampment in wartime Egypt.

"What have you done with my bloody glasses?"
You squinted at the racing pages and
clutched for the telephone as
the horses lined up for the start.

"No pay today gal." You mumbled
as you came in from the betting shop.

"He's got the darkies disease he has. Bloody idle."
Revolting insult thrown at a black youth on the TV
without bothering to listen why he was there.

"Get 'em a cup o' tea gal."
The command shouted from an
armchair in front of the television
made a visit feel an imposition.

Glimpses of an intelligence
sometimes shone through
from your limited and distorted world.

Off to work before I got up for school.
Back from the pub after I was in bed.
I knew you were home when I woke
to the shouting downstairs.

In your eighty fourth year you told me
that seventy five would have been enough.
My stomach knotted.

Shame I never knew you.
I am curious now
you are dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment