Bottlejack

 

It came out of Robert Lello’s house at 50 Lower Galdeford.

Still hung on a hook over the range when I was small.

Ludlow Corporation knocked the house down

in the sixties, to build flats for older people.

The garden wall’s still there.

I look at it sometimes.  

 

I knew what this was when I found it. This turned the Sunday beef

above the fire basket, its drip tray underneath.  

The Tudors made one worked by weights, or little boys,

or little dogs in a treadmill. This one was Victorian

innovation, made of good brass,

driven by clockwork.

 

Hook at the top for the rail, hook at the base for the joint. The rivets

have gone.  I’ll lift the cover, show you the stilled mechanism.  

Once this mesh of cogs and ratchets bared

their teeth and set to work.  The key went

here, to wind the mainspring

every Sunday morning.  

 

 

Brass Gaming Piece

 

He supposes every man in the trenches must have had one

in his pocket, to pass the time, ease the waiting:

his grandfather’s gaming piece.

Put One, Take One.

 

He twirls it now, and it swings its fat weight up to settle

in a true gyre, that inertia-whirl before it falls.

Its tip is polished from spinning on mess tins.

Put Two, Take Two.

 

His grandfather was born in Ludlow, buried in Ludlow.

There’s a list in St. Lawrence’s of all the Ludlow men

who served, but he’s not on it.

All Put, Take All.

 

 

Red Bedford Van

 

We bought it for our year-old daughter.

She ran it round the room, vroom,

on an Indian carpet with a fringe.

 

We bought it because our first van was a Bedford.

He painted it to match.  He sawed out some

window bars to make it look the same.

 

He wanted a Bedford because we could sleep

in it, go off on holiday.  But he didn’t drive.

I had to drive it.  I said, I don’t want to drive

 

a bloody bus.  So we got a red one.

 

Mary Atkin brought in the Dinky Cars model Bedford Van she bought with her husband in 1960.

 

Poems by Jean Atkin for Museum,  Ludlow 2015

 

 

Lucozade

 

Once it was a perk of being poorly

Grapes, a Beano and some Lucozade.

In our world of

Customer Care helplines

Freepost and corporate chat

it’s now one of our five a day.

 

Bottle; one of thirty thousand

filled on that shift last May

Gulped down outside the library

by the skateboarder afraid

he didn’t get the sense of fun

bestowed on him by the ads.

 

He couldn’t have seen the bin

right where he was sat

perhaps he was distracted

or dazzled by his hat

Whatever,

that bottle skittles up to the door

a wasted resource

jetsam, landfill,

there’s always plenty more.

 

 

Dunkin'

 

As a frog lays its redundnant eggs

so the Michigan plastic factory

spawns a half million

dunkin’ micro cups

for that mid-noughties

yuletide promotion.

 

For the frog it’s about generations.

For the Donut people

it’s about penetration.

 

For the frog

just three from her myriad spawn toughed

late frosts, the minnows

and the diving beetle.

But that’s enough.

 

And for those Dunkin’ folk

just this single specimen

somehow evaded landfill

allowing us to know they ever were.

But that’s enough.

For what?

 

Scratching the void

 

Three hundred million

Lucky Sevens printed.

Four foot wide rolls

tall as a company

a hundred and sixty strong.

 

John’s last pound

bought a number three from the shop

that had been two feet deep

inside roll ninety one.

 

Outside, guarding,

a dog with its catch

hope fell to the pavement

with each fingernailed scratch

futile scrapings

to those numbers below.

An artwork of despair at

this milking parlour for

the hopeless.

 

Poems by Martin Evans

for Museum, Ludlow 2015

 

 

 

Lambert & Butler Blues

 

This was John’s fifth pack this week

His One hundred and seventieth this year

And his Fourteen thousandth

Six hundred and fortieth since

he decided to look cool along with

his first pint of beer.

 

This isn’t the pack that will kill him

though it’s assistance is invaluable.

Despite the don’t-use-this-product warnings

John swapped some dole and

some horse winnings

to pay for this box.

 

John beloved father

and husband to Denise

will be deeply mourned

once claimed by infarction

three days after his fifty-ninth birthday

following an altercation

with a fellow motorist.

He can’t say he wasn’t warned.

 

 

Treasure Trove

 

Mankind in a rose garden

Dug over and sieved

across years

from her plot in Mill Street.

Grating, misplaced,

uncomfortable in the soil

But saved to a tub of

Utterly Butterly.

 

Oysters to formica,

lead, glass and the willow,

bone and fragments

an archaeological dig.

Changing diet, fashion

and technology

and our untidiness

reflected amid the flowers.

 

 

Hit or Miss

 

Act I

This started out as a good time

what happened next

was an expectant wait

the yearning

this time

please, this time.

Speak to the oracle,

the spatula

mid stream

hit or miss?

 

 

Act II

This started out as a good time

what happened next

was life as normal

more good times

some even better

then a dawning dread of late

oh no

oh please, not now

Eight quid in boots

and a dash to the loo

to speak to the oracle

hit or miss

life or death.

 

Poems by Martin Evans

for Museum, Ludlow 2015