Old Year

Old Year rolls towards the edge:

all but cliff-tipped and crown-cropped,

he grizzles over sticky mince pies

and thrice cooked turkey,

downs a last guzzle of mulled liquor

and stuffs his pockets with fruit cake.

.

He will have none of party preparation –

“like celebrating my own execution”.

Instead, he catches up on old TV

plays Cluedo with the kids, who call him Mr Black,

and packs for emergencies:

no-one knows how it will happen this time.

.

Still,  warm gloves, tin of family biscuits,

and swimming goggles,

he’s ready to put his legs in one elastic

and catapult himself  into the next place.

If it turns out less than nice,

chances are, he won’t be there for long:

Years generally quit before outstaying their welcome.

Computer Generation

He was once a real boy;

distinctly she remembered him

holding her hand and looking her in the eye.

.

These days, to gain his attention

she wore prescription 3D glasses

and sat in a life-simulating gaming chair;

unsure whether the blurred edges he exhibited

were the result of his stereoscopic obsession,

a definite change in generational perspective,

or the tears in her empty nest eyes.

The Curator

Economically, it was a difficult  time

women itched in woollen scarves

men stamped their frosted minds

a cruel wind blew till their steaming chips were down.

..

Socially, it was a treacherous climb

He clung to the frozen earth with hooked toes

vertically

.

.

impossible

pebbles snapping like dragons’ teeth

stressed grass grazing his aching knees.

.

Astrologically, he read the perfect sign

and chose this day to set his sight

at the hill above vast unmolested sea.

.

At the summit

he would put down his heavy pack

lean his broad back against a small patch of undamaged sky

and watch history unfold.

Sunday

Cards, did you ever stand? Or was my brilliant house of hearts,

young fumbling fingers darting in to rebuild broken parts,

a childish and imagined thing dreamed up by chilly rooms?

Do you recall the way we played on Sunday afternoons?

.

In our separate world were marbles, and a box of dominoes,

each indent to be thumbed, the numbers nought to six in rows,

each globe a tiny planet trapped, in subtle colour rolled,

all added up when I was very young and they were old.

.

And when they called me in at last, I boxed and bagged my friends,

to leave disgruntled kings and queens and keepsies in the end.

One hand still cupped around a shell in which I hear the sea,

I peer through dust of lemon cake washed down with grown-up tea.