"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
I used to start my week with a long drive from Cheshire to distant Worksop. If I had time, I stopped for breakfast at a layby with a spectacular view, high up on the A6. This particular butty van is no longer there so I haven’t had a chance to share this with Colin and Carol. If you’re reading this, thanks for the good cheer and the tea.
Triumphant on the ridge at Topley Head,
the butty van is busy –
Colin brewing, Carol on the money,
Ashley frying up the bacon
as a truck pulls in behind me.
I’m in a fairy costume. It’s a long story.
Is Ashley their only child?
No, we’ve got six, says Colin.
This one’s a bit thick.
AREN’T YOU ASHLEY?
Six sons, says Carol winking,
and four daughters. They don’t count.
Here’s another one – hello love.
A lanky boy comes fawn-like to the counter.
The trucker snorts, ten kids.
D’you know what’s causing it?
and Colin says
We think it’s shagging
and we laugh so hard
his number plate falls off.
Behind the van, the land falls like a cannonball
past cliffs and delphs, high rivers;
rakes still rich enough
to cut a story from.
We sit on plastic chairs
and look the other way.