Catching Sight of the
In the bright light of morning, generous for March,
the supermarket wall glows browning Satsuma
ambered in the sun like the blanched pages
of well-thumbed paperbacks in the hothouse windows
of the charity shop two doors down but one.
A more debonair of down-and-outs,
a tramp whos used to tramping about
so does in a mature, dignified manner,
pushes his supermarket trolley of belongings
along (as if a golf bag in the absence of a caddie)
piled up with plastic bags, empty Coke bottles.
He comes to a philosophical halt
in a nice patch of sun, meticulously tips
the trolley on its side, then slowly sits on it.
He checks himself, nose twitching, ears a-flicker,
in his vast shaving mirror the glass wall Waitrose
so politely provided him and those of his sort
who need to keep check on the quality of their manicuring.
Hes a very true gentleman. Truest of all:
less incentive than most to keep himself clean;
tidy. He looks at his best, most refined,
gentlemans tweed cap correctly positioned
in perfect symmetry with his clean-shaven face;
his thinning grey straw-like hair neatly combed out
of all its irritating mites.
The only thing letting his apparel down
is his hole-torn rain-mac serving as
a dust cover for his classier, half-
-concealed over-coat of deep fox brown.
Come to think of it, he looks like a fox,
not crafty and devious as Beatrix Potters,
but pointedly razor-red of face (burst
blood vessels from cold, not booze; no soberer
man has tramped in those un-scuffed shoes),
alert, sharp, proud. And most of all, free.
The spit of an eccentric country gentleman
unaccustomed to the hustle-bustle
of bristling city life; quite out-
of-kilter in a Mad Hatter-ish way
we used to see them all the time,
swinging on lamp posts in Seventies
Goring-By-Sea; Mad Hatters we
labelled them Carrollishly.
Its very rare to get this close to an urban fox,
scrimping in its stubbly native habitat,
licking its mitten-paws to wipe its side-boards clean
its as if Im not here as if he cant see me.
Or just doesnt care.
Hes tame as a flea.
If you've any comments about this poem,Alan Morrison would be pleased to hear from you.