A stiff climb, the three steps. He opens a brown fist
shady side today. Shady side today, aye. A’right, Ted?
A’right, aye. Tweed sleeve sits by tweed sleeve most Saturdays;
Today one brown arm settles alongside another.
The bus eases away, chirruping and groaning, heaving
at bends. The lane turns; below them a chequered valley
shines, familiar as a kitchen, and there is nothing
to be said of it, they know it like a mother. Their talk
is all of vegetables, the trenching and ridging,
hoeing and forking. Purple top it’s too warm, split at the core.
Peas gone dry and the spinach bolting. Taties I don’t
know. Corn, though, corn and tomatoes. Marrows, aye.
Come October give the Lord his due with a good mixed basket
at the altar steps and a monstrous blue cabbage.
Special prize at the Show that ought to get. Aye.
Eloquence is fading now. A few more weeks until the time
of caps, oiling of tools, storing away, and winter to be endured
like a sleepless night. Past the big estate, roundabout,
Ford garage. Hospital the next stop. Now then, Ted.
© M.R.Peacocke 2010