A Lancaster bomber bulks over Bellevue Road
And dumps its load as I bolt for the zebra
Then into the shelter of the Golden House, with a bang
And a jangling entrance at once whisper-echoed
By the coloured strips of the kitchen doorway.
My yellowed reflection meets me at the counter
Into his almond face I must bellow my order
Over the drums of the Blitz outside.
Which suddenly stop.
My counterpart retreats, slightly richer, to his strips.
A spring roll, a steak pie, a pile of poppadoms.
The wares sit under hot museum glass
Like a joke awaiting a punchline.
In the corner an old thug reads an old Hello,
Grinding his prawncracker knuckles.
Outside again, in cool air.
The Lancaster whipped away, or shot to shrapnel.
Gleaming, the ancient pavements of Two Mile Hill beneath
An evening sky, washed pink and streaked with gold.
In England, everything that’s born is old.