Poem ‘Doing the Work’

Doing the Work

I thought of someone
scrunching up pink paper tissues
and sticking them randomly
to scanty trees. I paused outside,
beguiled by fresh horse chestnut leaves
like little green squids,
poised in the crossing sun

When finally I sat down inside—
sustained sounds in A
all around the unravelling dark
—I knew how much sweat
went into this, his sweetest symphony.
Oh, there would be tears, applause,
cries of ‘bravo!’ and the house
might well be brought down— eventually.
None of them saw the bitter tears
or heard the harsh cussing.
And they never had to sit
through the long silences
or watch him toss batons aside
and wipe that heavy brow.
More than once he must’ve wished
to be somewhere else—
in the grip of a glacier, perhaps?

At the break
I stumbled out into an evening
among smokers, a kerfuffle of gulls.
We watched a lone magpie emerge,
sneaking off with leftovers,
the keener eye winning
with the merest effort

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

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