From town to town, my slipshod shoes
would slip the folds, would loose the tiles,
would curl all under–like an autumn leaf.
Would cold collapse ‘neath my peddler load.
These brassy wares;
my green, my burlap shawl.
And how I watch
through gunked dart eyes
the jaunty village fairs.
I’m shabby, if nothing else.
Right wanton, to be sure.
With mud-caked fingers ’round the neck
of long green bottle sloshing red.
The gold northern sun does gently hold
your stone fences, white walls, straw tops,
your men in sleeves and women breathing big.
But who will stand against the rush,
against the falling slaughter;
who will reverse me
and my slipshod ways?
I lurch unsteady and humpbacked,
–in these tattered sacks
rough sliced and twine stitched–.
Without a full thought,
you cover your child’s head in your fat worker’s hand
’til I’m past and on my way.
From town to town I make the tour
and turn my shattered face
toward the people and their place,
a sheep fold in a glen.
From town to town, I scrape the ground
Copyright: Andy Watson