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This poem is taken from PN Review 47, Volume 12 Number 3, January - February 1986.

Poems James Greene


A deck-chair is bulging in front of the house -
Crocuses on the croquet-lawn, urine-enriched; prospect of cows -

And as we enter the drive in the enlightening dusk his brewer's bulk is looming there
And a blackbird hovering by his Times and table and chair.

It is like this every year in those quick seconds when we - brothers and sisters and sons - arrive
For the shareholders-meeting where we conspire or connive.

Does he discuss the minutes, the ferment or politics with this sober blackbird
While waiting for us, or is it absurd

To imagine the Chairman behaving thus?
It seems the same hunched clerk each time - an éminence noire? (They kill the hours, without curtness or fuss;

With convivial small beer . . .). This could be a faint, contrived or ornithological, ambush,
To give us - through routine regalia, a regular replay in rural hush -

A draught of time's reliable ale, no strikes, no hiccups. - Our stocks increase in value with the years;
And fathers too. He rises, Canute-like, to cut the tall grass with his blunt and favourite shears;

Then vanishes short-sightedly behind a bush to pee.

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