Napowrimo April 21st, 2022
Today’s prompt asks me to write a poem in which I first recall someone I used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job I used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that I saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, close the poem with an unanswerable question.
I miss that paradox of a man.
That roll-up-tooting, veggie-rooting, matchstalk scarecrow of a man.
Five foot nothing of wrinkled potato skin with brillo pad hair,
Crinkled fag permanently dangling from celery lips,
Donning an oversized donkey jacket and well-worn belt at his hips,
He can’t have weighed more than a bag of crisps.
But man could he dig.
He was 80 if he was a day, but 13 rows of spuds he could slay,
Like a steady steam train chugging, he would puff along,
Spade and man in rhythm, smoke plumes trailing behind them,
He never stopped for breath; I wondered how he could breathe,
But he did,
At no point was there a sign,
Of dust encrusted lungs, a gift from the mine,
We’d both served our time.
But here I was, half his age,
Playing catchup to the allotment sage,
I held more admiration than a water butt could stand.
They don’t make em like George anymore; proper man.
Lowry could have painted George,
But not in one of his contemplative seascapes.
Those grey-blue-tinted contradictions of tranquil turmoil,
Where nothing moves, but everything echoes
With distant thoughts, like ships in the fog,
Or George’s tiny lighthouse bobbing on his gob.
I never understood how George could eat so much veg.
Maybe he had hundreds of kids?
If anyone could, George could.
I bet he did.