Sally Richards

The Bigger Issue

You nearly tripped

over your self-importance

hurtling along your trajectory

of manifest materialism

Sneering me up and down;

sniffing out

through up-tuned nose

the object of annoying diversion

from train of thought:

M & S food hall,

the latest five bed on Elm Park.

O yes, you nearly lost it:

cool air of sophistication –

catching sight of my means to survival;

hurling silent profanities,

muttering  “get a job waster” –

another dart

of misrepresentation

in my all too dented ego.

Could there be a chip

on that Versace-padded-shoulder?

The constant need for distractions

to block out thoughts –

sipping your G & T


wondering where he is;

then – the smell

of his shirt

telling you something

you really don’t want to know.

You see

my issue is trying to get a home

….what’s yours?

Mount wood pond

We stop.

Our smoke breath –


among sharp-frosted pines.

For a few seconds we stand


united in thoughts

of a different scene

then we search

for just the right stone –

with each crack

of the ice,

every depth-charged reverberation,

the years turn back.

Childhood echoes

ruffle the silence

in mid-winter


Sally Richards © 2009

Midnight Refugee

a true story


on the living room pane!

startled momentary pause –

see him standing there

through pulled-back-blind

in the glow of street-lit darkness

a blurry figure


at 12am

Who are you

with your tap-tapping –

I, lazily sitting

with late night film;

Mortitia-haired, pale,

ready for my bed…

…well, it’s not what you expect


in the middle of rural night;

thoughts struggle to order

in wilting brain;

He intimates the need to eat

caution clangs

in my head.

“I’m not opening the door”.

With tentative window opening –

the first glimpse:

dark, straggly appearance –

Surreal, so surreal!

“have you any food?”

possible German accent –

overwhelming feeling

of subterfuge, time warp…

(imagination running riot)

“haven’t much – bread and cheese?”

nods “thank you”

“are you walking?” stupid question

drifts lamely into night

“I look for somewhere to sleep

tomorrow I go to Liverpool”

(you couldn’t make this up)

unease with overriding sympathy

for this dark stranger

who came tap-tapping

into my quiet village world

bread and cheese:

foil-wrapped, apple-topped:

passed through

“Thank you”

“take care”  I said banally!

“hope you find somewhere to sleep”

I didn’t – not a wink

thinking of my mystery man

out there

in freezing rural night.

Sally Richards © 2009