Racked by cramp and dumped out of bed, he lies on the dusty floor.
The crash of the bedside table wakens the dread from his dreams
as he stretches out unwelcome knots, and remembers
a warren of dust-bunnies covering the books,
the straggly beard of an overgrown bush in the front
that needed an overdue shave,
conservatory greenery, now dry and yellow, to throw in a sack,
a hole in the flooring where rain came in
with mycelium crumbling the boards,
a tight cubby-hole with shelves spewing old poison,
Lino with edges to trip the unwary,
overgrown garden …crying, …crying
…………………………………….for weeks of back-breaking Labour.
It’s the early hours of May 10th, stagnant air thick with decay.
The window is closed against night-time revellers
who kick their cans on the pavement.
An orange glow seeps through the curtains
to pick out his tumbler and splash on wall –
stripping is not on the morning’s agenda.
The old house is in mourning for Red and Yellow
swept away by a surge of Blue.
Their parties must mend rotting boards,
fill skip after skip,
find some fresh paint;
get down on their knees to pull up the weeds,
speak to the Scots who’ve been canny.
Rubble is searched for the tiles that are loose,
litter the floor from the back hall to the gate.
They are sorted, cleaned and carefully graded,
…………………to create a sure-footed path for the future.
Richard Carpenter is a GP who, in retirement, decided to try creative writing to see if there was reason for his English teacher being so angry over fifty years ago when he chose the science route. He is a member of York Stanza.