Monday, October 16, 2006

Donkey Stones.

when milk carts were horse-drawn?.
My father would shout
and I’d go out, armed with shovel and bucket
to scoop up the horse’s legacy.
A treat for the back garden.

when you got on double-deckers
at the back
and bus conductors all wore black,
or dark blue?
The stairs arced left
into the poison gas
of black shag and woodbines,
where anyone who didn’t cough
was either dead or just dog-rough.

Remember the rag and bone man’s horse
with it’s nose stuck in a bag?
A donkey stone was the price he paid
no matter how much junk you gave.

In kneeling posture every week,
the terraced streets of women toiled
with donkey stones, in rivalry
for front-doorstep supremacy.
The turbaned lines would rub away
all of last weeks grime,
as if their scrubbings cleansed their souls
or eased false guilt they’d slowly built
of any wasted time

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