In matching green anoraks, rain or shine, they walk here every morning, she a little taller than he,
leaning on his arm, three times clockwise round the park, keeping themselves to themselves,
keeping to the path by the railings where once they saw a gang of young offenders plant daffodils;
admire the clumps of yellow spreading each year. Sometimes, to get her breath back, they pause
for a minute or two, where the bowling green, cut close in smooth diagonals is hedged with
summer lavender, noisy with bees, and the voices of children beyond; and In autumn, when the
path is littered with beechnuts, she says that the squirrels look like coffee pots, and he thinks that
they are more like bookends. Now, fallen beech leaves silt the culverts, the squirrels have gone,
and he walks here on his own, three times round, best foot forward, gives a nod to the rough and
tumble walkers of spaniels, greyhounds. He should get a dog, they whisper, so he crimps his face
to the wind, tightens the green anorak – chin up – and feels for the spike of lavender in her pocket;
the blossom’s rubbed to dust, but the scent clings.
Margot Myers lives in Oxford, and has been writing poetry for six years. She has been placed or shortlisted for several competitions including Havant, Bridport Flash Fiction , and Cinnamon Mini-competitions, and has published poems in three Emma Press Anthologies, and ‘The Interpreter’s House’.
“This poem is the result of a prompt from Kate Potts’s course Word Power: Poetry and Ritual. We were asked to write a poem related to everyday ritual, to focus on regular actions and descriptive detail which have a significance beyond the functional. My daily dog-walking in the local park suggested a story, and a way of organising detail. Examples in the assignment material gave me a form and a rhythm. Feedback from Kate and the group helped me re-think my use of tense, and to edit out a final word (good advice!).”
I like the couplets and the long lines.
Thanks Pam it is the first time I have used this form, and found I could relax into it.
I like the squirrels like coffe pots or book ends.
Thanks, Sue, it was kind of you to comment. Squirrels like coffee pots was a family joke when I was a child. I wanted the fun images to reinforce a sense of the couple’s intimacy.