Written after Working a Fortnight in a Grocer’s

Hired to offset an ultimatum of tins –
but desperately tired,

cornered by the trolley and the fridge,
resisted by stubborn cardboard boxes,
hunted by empty shelves –

I shift sand in silence.

Trying to win money and self-respect
I am in more need of affection

What a din of common-sense muzzles me!

In the argument in which I am dying
there are no opponents
but the shrill whine of things to be done.

By the jokes of workmen who would cheer me
and by shopgirls who will not work too near me

I stand condemned, “a bit of a nut”.

The shop is full of hardness, hardness, madness!

While the air is unharnessed
the world is swirled through the eyes and asthmatic breath
of whining customers.


In my own home
that is yet to come

I see lopsided
a happiness.

Nowhere guided
I’ll beat the air for it – !

I would transmit
a gentleness.

Share away: