UKArchive ID: 36145

“Viewed From The Bridge''
Originally published on January 29, 2016 in Poetry    

This may well be about the passing of old style doggerel poetry or the careless disregard shown to others or neither or both.

Again apologies if submitted earlier – it has been edited and I still have flu.

Waiting for the chime of six
And opening time at the Brickie and Bricks
I settled on a canal side bench
Watching swans at swim
And the decline of the sun

A man,
A stranger,
Shiny pinstripe suited.
And fedora hatted
Planted himself beside me

I looked the other way.

He muttered an apology.
I muttered something,
A phatic something about nothing,
Feigning interest in a magazine.

And checking the church tower clock
For the moment when
I could, politely, say,
“Oh my, look, is that the time!?”
And move away.

His arm extended
A damp hand uncurled toward mine,

“My name is McGonagall,
Topaz McGonagall,
Blame my parents for the name”

Despite my distaste
I shook the hand anyway
And went to say,

“Nice to meet you…”

He windmilled his arm, pointing
And gazing into the sky’s infinity
As if trying to pierce the black cloud
That obscured,
The sun.

Not breaking his stare
He murmured

“I prefer this time of day
When the sun is melancholy
And the day dips into the darkness of the sea.
And the flower heads droop
Do you?”

I declined to reply
I was willing the church clock to chime:

The Brickie’s pneumatic barmaid was delightful
On the eye,
Engaged to another but
Fancied me…

And there was a barrel of Piddle,
“Jimmy Riddle”
New up from Dorset.

And I fancied getting to grips with both.

“…I love to gaze into the sky
Or deep into country hedges…”

He said as he swivelled
Fixing my eyes with his

“I like to trace the clematis’s
Climb towards the light…
And sunflowers… ”

His rhapsody fell on deaf ears
I had the church clock on my mind
Its big hand wavered, jerked, and stilled
One blessed minute less to wait

“…Sometimes I imagine that
If I could punch a hole through the hedge
Or pierce a rent in the sky
I might see through to eternity…”

The man fell into a brief silence…
Then head between his hands

“We are always waiting…
Life and death are out of our hands.
Unless we grasp our fate ourselves
We are condemned
To waiting
Endless days…”

I reflected
“I know that everlasting waiting feeling…
When is the bleedin’ Brickie’s opening?”

At six on the dot
St Saviour’s chiming set me free.
From this off-beat stranger’s
Drear philosophy.

“It’s been lovely talking…
I’ve a train to catch…
Must dash…”

Topaz nodded
I don't know if he heard
Or even cared

I hurried off
My head filled with the
Lusty barmaid
And her full headed beer.

At the bridge crown
I turned, to make
For etiquette’s sake
The requisite
'So long' tip of hat and nod
To the disturbing stranger

Topaz was nowhere around
An umbrella discarded on the ground
No other trace remained.

I looked into the water
Beneath my feet
His buttonhole rose
Investigated by swans

I wonder if Topaz grasped the bank
In fear
Relinquishing himself
Into the chill
Of the green ink canal.

And I watched from the bridge
The brim of his fedora



The weir.

© (Coolhermit on OLD UKA)

UKArchive ID: 36145
Archived comments for “Viewed From The Bridge”

Savvi on 29-01-2016
“Viewed From The Bridge
Very cool Hermit, a real treat of a read well balanced between focused and distracted, just delightful, I didn't see the end coming and that was all for the better. One of the best veiled suicide poems I have ever read. Keith

Author’s Reply:
Thank you, Sir. 🙂

Pronto on 29-01-2016
“Viewed From The Bridge
A delight to read and absorb the things that go through a poet's head. i hope you enjoyed the pint if not the barmaid!! on a technical nitpick, I have yet to see a weir on a canal!

Author’s Reply:

pdemitchell on 29-01-2016
“Viewed From The Bridge
Very descriptive and gripping – a fedora in a weir indeed. Paul

Author’s Reply:

Corin on 30-01-2016
“Viewed From The Bridge
Well you do get weirs on canals sometimes beside a lock to allow surplus water to drain away and prevent the weir from flooding and sometimes to drain water off into channel so the canal does not flood.

I like the build up of mystery and other worldliness of the old man. It reminds me of some story or poem but i cannot bring it to mind.


Author’s Reply: