austerity

There’s a Supermarket Where the Library Once Stood

There’s a supermarket where the library once stood.
I sometimes forget that it’s now gone for good.
Last week I asked if they had any Flaubert.
A shrug in response. ‘The cheese counter’s there.’

There’s a supermarket where the library had been.
I’ve been reading some Dhal in ‘Indian cuisine’.
No golden tickets, witches or giants, of course;
just chickpeas and lentils in a creamy spiced sauce.

There’s a supermarket where the library once was.
I had tried to hand back an old Grapes of Wrath.
Sorry, they told me, but it’s really too late,
they’ll be shrivelled and well past their best-before-date.

There’s a supermarket where the library once stood.
A Sainsbury’s Local has bulldozed my childhood.
The library had been starved of state funding, I guess.
Take books off the menu and live well for less.

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A Poem, Strong and Stable

How blessed am I
to live beneath a strong and stable sky
and the warmth it enables me
from a sun that shines down,
strongly and stably.

Me, with these strong and stable legs,
that take me past the queues
of people – long unable to be fed –
waiting to give thanks
outside the strong and stable food banks,

and beyond where the library once was,
now strongly converted
to stable a private medical centre,
that makes the sick (but financially abler)
stronger and stabler.

And further on, the school
strongly lacking in staple equipment –
whiteboards, books, teachers –
all signs of a strong and stable commitment
to the dismantling of lives.

I thank the government
for such strong and stable times
then wander to the park, alone,
pausing to watch a cricket match.
I bend to sit upon the bench,

and fall through its rotted slats.

They’re Renovating Buckingham Palace

They’re renovating Buckingham Palace —
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Went past cash-strapped hospitals and schools,
“The Sevres Porcelain sounds really cool,”
Says Alice.

They’re renovating Buckingham Palace —
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
The queues they found were as long as food banks,
“They have Vermeers and Van Dycks and Rembrandts,”
Says Alice.

They’re renovating Buckingham Palace —
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Outside, the homeless were all moved along.
“The Grand Staircase, I’ve heard, is cast from bronze,”
Says Alice.

They’re renovating Buckingham Palace —
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
“You know so much ’bout the palace and grounds.”
“I got a book before the library closed down,”
Says Alice.