Intrigued by a shop that he’d not seen before,
In a part of the town that he’d seldom explored,
He ventured inside, it was tasteful, discreet,
But with goods normally found in old Soho’s back streets.
There were potions and lotions and tablets galore,
In boxes and bottles all over the store.
There were things you strap on and some things you insert,
So improbably shaped he was sure they must hurt.
There were things you rub on to the things you rub off
And things you request with a wink and a cough;
Inflatable girls (and components thereof) -
All the convenience foods of love.
But he just had to face it - you know you’re too old
When you worry that girls in short skirts might be cold;
When provocative outfits no longer provoke,
Your poor old libido has obviously croaked.
So he did up his coat and got ready to leave,
With the look of a man who has just been bereaved,
And limped slowly home to compose a lament
For the urge that had died, its energy spent.
Erotically challenged, sexually impaired?
Whatever you call it, the need wasn’t there.
But it’s senseless to grieve, for it was always thus:
Passion to ashes, lust to dust.
A wartime melody, carried on a coastal breeze,
draws me down the promenade
to the gardens on the cliff,
where I sit amongst the old folks by the bandstand,
underneath the broken ornamental clock
whose ship-shaped weathervane
points stubbornly towards France.
Two frail ladies take the floor
in a slow widows’ waltz.
Oblivious to all about them,
they shuffle round in circles,
each, in turn, glancing past the face of her friend,
out over the unforgiven sea,
forty years across and fathomless,
keeping their promises,
The Doppler Effect
The Doppler Effect
Even in this darkness, you can tell
if something is approaching or
receding, or even gauge its distance,
just by listening to that change
in pitch, that sonic arc of
moving matter bruising air;
like this bus that now gusts
past me down the hill,
gathering in its wake
a crowd of leaves that
dance along behind it like
children following a float
at some strange nocturnal carnival.
Curious, then, that I had failed to hear
in your soft tones how far away
you were already, long before