Ducks, lame, dead, and dumb

Wednesday November 8, 2006

It was close to being dark today when I rolled into the disabled driver’s parking bay outside the dentist and, by the time I was stretched out on the reclining chair, biting hard on a mouthful of clammy cold jelly, the window had changed from light source to blank black mirror, reflecting the dental doings. A radio on the sill, tuned to Bridgwater FM, murmured an old David Bowie track and I tried to ignore the jelly fragment setting firm in my moustache. It’s all in a good cause.

Outside, Autumn was regretting its short sulky spell of fog and the sky was clearing, promising a touch of sun for tomorrow. When I’d done and was standing by the car once more, watching all the dentists and staff leaving for the delights of their evenings I was reminded of all those days when I did much the same after a day’s work, wondering where the light had gone, and mourning its loss.

The sodium street lights flickered on and the sky disappeared. Across the way the sausage-in-a-bun stall pulled down its shutters and the little white and brown dog tethered by his nice warm kennel leapt up to greet his mistress as she stepped down to give him a well done for waiting hug. I suspect they’ll be having something other than sausages for their supper.

Oh, but it was damp still and, as the temperature dropped, chill and unfriendly.

It was good to get back home in the warm. I snuggled up to my kitchen radiator for five minutes to catch the early evening news, recounting the results of the US mid-term elections and crowing over the departure of Rumsfeld. “Is the President now a lame duck or a dead duck?” some glib newsman asked.

“Well,” I said, “he’s certainly a dumb duck.”

And that was the limit of my political comment on a day when I’d have said a loud “Well done!” to my American friends who were pleased with the result if it were not for my feelings of natural sympathy for those who regret it. It’ll be four years here before we can vote and express our discontent with our own members of the Axis of Incompetence.

A day for staying home in the warm, then, and that feeling is reflected in the poem I wrote for the day, the eighth in the series of thirty I’m attempting for November.


A day by the fire
I shall not be arising much today
my Innisfree isle’s far too far away
and a wind-whistle hut seems poor
exchange for my nice brick house.
The bee-loud glade is silent now
and damp far more than mellow.
There’s peace enough for me today
in looking out on pavements grey
and toasting muffins and brewing tea
is all the poem you’ll get from me.
John Bailey
Somerset, November 2006



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