British Aisles

Among slow movers in Waitrose –
who have all the time in the world
to hunt and gather tea time’s treat
to eat under sheltered rooflines –

there is a muttered dignity in aisles
These retirees place select items
in shallow trolleys as they stop-go
Unhurried in their emeritus ways

In its cafĂ© even us – such younger ones –
adopt the hushed reverence of age
and put off less urgent ‘phone calls –
a church service is about to start

Then fluorescents flicker and douse
and our light snacks are in a dark place
But those old shoppers do not stop
because such an act would be surrender

And their jokes flare up about shillings
and no one’s fed the meters
Their only way out is by those steep stairs
because no one trusts those German lifts


Blown

Throw them ever higher
into blue skies
to become black smoke
and blown particles

and do not care
about age – infirmity
or status of anyone –
just soaring margins

She turned into flight
as sooty confetti
A working lift?
Is this Heaven?

She saw London’s
sawtooth lower jaw
How cold she felt
dropping as ash

In her new lightness –
before wet dousings –
was a brief release
from profit seekers

but it wasn’t on her list
of urgent repairs and fixes
Those in high places
never read her misgivings