Ye’r Mans for Tea

I wrote in a recent article that my friend, Paul Waites, composed a poem for my birthday. I said it was so good I entered it into a competition. Many of you have asked what happened next. Well, he didn’t win but poetry judging is obtuse – and I’m a bad loser!

But back to Paul. I asked him how long it took to write. “Not long,” he replied, “but months to compose in my head.” I know exactly what he meant. Poets shouldn’t be allowed to drive cars or operate machinery. Their heads get scrambled when they’re composing, then they worry they’ll lose the genius of the lines. Only pen and paper can absorb the anxiety. What I love about Paul’s poem is that it races, an outpouring while running around a supermarket, observing, judgemental.

So, we’ll start at the beginning, the starter.

Scallops or Asparagus, Asparagus or Scallops?

Push the boat out? Nautical it is.

Scallops, scallops, scallops

Right. On. On.


‘Excuse me, scallops? Aisle 29? No, that’s fine – I’ll find it’

20, 21, 22, 24…, 25?…… Mmmm

Either the store manager’s an imbecile or out for revenge.

‘Cracked, black peppered, Bulgarian crab claws? Certainly madam, Aisle 23’

Right. On. On. Scallops. Scallops. Scallops.

Damn. The Patersons. Pleasantries.

‘yes, yes, I heard, wonderful news

and a surprisingly bonny baby……..all things considered’

Ahh, it’s silence that gives the knife its keenest edge.

Right. On. On. Scallops. Scallops. Scallops.

Too cruel? Remember our fate.

Two old men, lemon sherbet smiles, observing the world as it passes by

‘Jesus, will you look at the size of the arse on that!’

‘Look at it? I’m fecking orbiting around it’

Right. On. On. Scallops. Scallops. Scallops.

Ow, a large Boadicea in an electric chariot just ran over my foot.

‘No, no I’m fine. It’s my own fault for standing over here, out of the way’

Ooh, that hit the mark, if looks could kill.

Aisle 23 for eternal damnation

Right. On. On. Scallops. Scallops. Scallops.

And how do you measure friendship? Or the man for that matter?

Well, you’d want him by your side in the trenches. Enough said.

Not that he’d thank me. Oh no, I’d never hear the bloody end of it.

Ahh, excellent. Asparagus.

If Paul could knock out a poem for my next few birthdays he’d have a cracking book before we pop our clogs.

First published in Swindon Link

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