Saturday, 8 September 2012

Bus notes 18

At first I thought she was a nun
        but she'd just taken a scrap of blanket
        and folded it perfectly about her head.
In the seat beside me
the feline stink communicated,
a cloud in which she was hid.
        The white tendril hairs from her chin
        slid through the invisible jelly air
        that keeps the non-smiles fixed
        and became the wires
        for a writing hand for a while.
I couldn't shake the revulsion and so
I became a provisional worshipper
of her mystery.
        Today I can type an Amen in
        and a Yes with imaginary ink.


  1. In the Many Mansions of Poetry there must be a neglected outbuilding which most passersby have dismissed as abandoned for so long it has now become virtually invisible. This would be the estate of the charitable orders. One must come up very close through the weeds and broken junk to get a glimpse of the small light still glimmering within. It's reassuring (as well as surprising) to catch a reflection of this redemptive light in the window of a West Midlands Bus.

  2. Sometimes I preen myself, in my head, on my powers of attention - some little scene I caught in the corner of my eye before it gave way to the general drift.

    No chance of that here. This was a grace coming at its muddiest and most present. Frail and small as she was, she sat up close and hemmed me in. My first reaction was to shrink from her. Nevertheless, the writing became an ineluctable demand.

    You're right: herself and her sisters and brothers are the bearers of the light.