Poetry Column

‘Little Clarendon Street’  

 It wouldn’t be Wednesday without the man in the street,

Shouting the big issues of the world, scaring the shit

Out of every passer by,

With fire in his eyes,

And beer on his thighs,

And scars on each cheek, but a smile on neither.

– It wouldn’t be Thursday, Friday or Monday either.


‘Where to?’ he confronts some poor Italian bloke,

To the amusement of the students out having a smoke.

He stutters politely

And gestures quite brightly,

The boys titter lightly,

But Steve sees no joke, and now has no choice,

So thyroid skyward, he flexes and raises his fists and his voice.


‘Mussolini’ he shouts, by G&D’s, ‘BERLUSCONI!’,

Eating their ice-cream, do they spot the irony

Amidst impatient sighs?

Does the girl with firm thighs

Buying cream for her eyes,

Then heading to Bleroni’s for a thimble of coffee, to ‘SLAG!’,

When she flounders at his request for 20p, or a fag?


October III

Summer is cheating. It’s us she’s mocking,

By stepping over Autumn’s leaves,

Slashing off her woollen sleeves,

Pulling ladders in her thick, black stockings.

A sliver of sun scorches clammy fingers,

And leaves, primed for crunching, ready

To brown, brown red, then back to a leady

Grey, then black, then rotting. Putridity lingers.

A dark, sallow bilge, they are dying to perform

That crisp crackling song of Autumn underfoot,

But the sun now chars their fibres to soot,

Stealing their lines and robbing their form.

Summer’s cheating has over-stepped the mark.

She brings silence when the rain is poised to patter,

Laying sweet sunshine on a platter,

Though all our hearts are cold and dark.

The first bite of sun tastes sweet until

The hidden maggots burst and squirm,

And the Friday night soup can of worms

Make a sudden bound for bold free will

And my mind flashes with cold truths, repeating.

Then a tear rolls slowly down my cheek.

It dries quickly in the sun to a saline streak,

But we and Autumn know the truth. Summer is cheating.

Ella Waldman