I see him now at the top of the steps, leaning against that tall Grecian pillar.
No photo survives, but there he is: turned-up drainpipes, Docs, the grin and ear-ring.
It was all in place, the casual tilt of his cap, the cocky angle
of his stick, and the song-spring trickling through his mind, about to be discovered.
The Bakers Arms
An insidious blight’s spreading round here, it frays men’s minds like ten pints of beer.
Its windows are clean, it’s quiet and smart, it empties a man’s wallet, drains his heart.
For a fat chance, for a slimmer profit, he’ll take the odds with the child benefit.
An insidious blight’s is spreading round here, it frays men’s minds like ten pints of beer.
Note: In 2010, after 142 years as a pub, The Bakers Arms became a betting shop.
St Mary’s Churchyard, Walthamstow i.m. Melita Jo (1955-2008)
To sit on the weather-worn bench she used over many months for her troubled bed,
to see the rows and rows of untidy graves that she kept tidy, until she died here
in early autumn, assailant unknown, and in a tall oak’s summer shade, listen
to a crow’s loud protests, cars slipping by, an unseen cricket in the unmown grass.
Michael Shann's first poetry pamphlet, Euphrasy, was published by the Paekakariki Press in 2012. He has recently had poems published in an anthology of garden poems (Otley Word Press) and Nutshell Magazine. He also instigated and took part in a short video produced by the Poetry Society to celebrate 100 years since Edward Thomas's train stopped at Adlestrop. These poems are part of a collection about the people and places of Walthamstow, due to be published in book form this year accompanied by illustrations by local artist Kirsten Schmidt.