Words written in dejection near Orpington (“I’m on the train”)
Laura, I see your back garden, your unpublic life,
the compost that never really got going,
flowering cherry by the fence and next door’s
cat stalks your daughters rabbit.
The blue bells are just coming on
along the newly cleared viaduct,
the clean, green entrance
to the tunnel under the Downs.
Sevenoaks: your car will be waiting,
Men and women in sensible shoes,
mothers in four by fours
delivering offspring to ballet, bumps and birthday tea.
But our fictional life…carefully measured
in jointly bought white goods
we could truly call our own:
washing and drying and freezing machines.
We would smile and call life pleasure
surrounded by children and pricey sofas.
Further on down the line, groups of men
hit balls slowly into holes.
From the train I see a single horse
standing at a gate looking across
to another horse standing at another gate
The underlying need for drama
I stare, sadly, at the photocopier
which proclaims, smugly, ‘there is a paper
jam in section A’, I know that
this is not the Finland Station, not yet,
no Lenin standing on an armoured car.
I am paused, ageing by the ‘Copy A Star’
As a figure swings through the office
the youth swaggering to fix it again.
The closest I get to Marathon will be
A pound to sponsor Kevin from IT
Running dressed as a chicken again,
not Phidippides celebrating victory then.
When I go the last thing I shall see
is fizzy cold cure with Vitamin C,
it won’t be some dramatic rent
A frozen line as Wilson leaves the tent.
The underlying need for drama seeps
Into every mundane act that keeps
The mortgage paid and children fed.
The inevitable steps from conjugal bed
lead to a small child who weeps
as monsters keep her from ‘her sleeps’.
No through road to passion left unspent
just complex sums on pocket money spent.
I would like to say, in a Shakespearian way
‘Between the forceps and the fire
There must be more to man’s estate’
But I’m feeling rather tired
and the hour is getting late;
best put it off till tomorrow.
In a large office in a large square,
is the Central Office for Control of Press
that shames it’s publishing authors,
as they blush and look slightly bored
One of the men who censored plays
Recently died from a heart attack.
A sincere man with a certain taste
For speeches with difficult verbs
Another censor gave an interview
Anyone could join he said
As long as they had a good degree
And could pass a short exam
He had wanted to be a writer
I’m a liberal really he says with pride
And you should see the things I read,
I’m always in demand at parties.
Our recent pilgrimage to the well known shrine
Gave a sense of direction and firm belief
Along with some pleasantly kitsch souvenirs.