Posted in Unexpected

Foot and Mouth

We had been neighbours almost a decade
friendship only for the last four
Pam said it was best to wait five years
if the occupants were unchanged, it was time for introduction.
She had been there 37 years by then
her experience difficult to refute.
Good things do take time.

Kind and bighearted she drew us into her world.
brief chat became talk sometimes gossip
laughter a constant invitee.
Opinionated and witty
she extrapolated the conceits of the city authorities
the government
her adult children
to side splitting absurdity.
It was impossible to have a conversation without being uplifted.

One summer scaffolding and painters
overdue by 10 years she maintained.
Mid job the workmen vanished
the house silent – a stage half set.

We made eye contact at the gate
a query as to whether the cheque had bounced.
The expected laughter never erupts.
We need some quiet right now she said.
“Our daughter is not well
actually she’s quite sick.”
She died two days later.
Flippancy never quite forgave itself.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.