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


Super Veterans

This lake’s shore is disturbed by cutters
and mowers at two-stroke Sunday work
of keeping back too much growth –

still their gig crew rolls through turns
of hard rudder and clean recoveries –
breaking out a wake and six puddles

Four – together – power – six – power through
cries their cox above Canadian chatter
from a disinterest of drifting geese

I wear a bench well – even at this age –
my practice of securing such comfort
in open spaces is my latest fascination –

along with finding a place to live
and other such micro matters in life
which pale under this sky – seated lakeside


Above Glynde Reach

I picked a bent path of grass treads
between time’s tipped-hat stones
in St. Andrew’s – Beddingham’s
dry-high whispering graveyard

It hasn’t absorbed any rising tidal
surge or sudden winter wash – of
God’s clearing-out-no-chance-flood
since He-knows-when-of-last

Once vagrants were listed here
in this river-fashioned parish
in a sub-Lewes rolled distance –
68 villains, 6 bordars and 5 slaves

Now Major and Mrs. lie thigh-to-thigh
in parallel places under that shadow
of repurposed stone and fixings –
another bypass and road of sorts

as cars hurtle at a throw’s distance
taking travelling parishioners
beyond unmarked boundaries
without a detour to see bowed stones