0219 People People
It must be fun - or so I'd like to think -
by Michael Shepherd
doing a 'people' job,
if that's what you really like to do;
like being a born bright barman in a not-too-busy bar
where everyone you meet's a challenge of some sort -
to spark the eyes of strangers, or
to plumb the depths of lonely mind and heart;
and postman, on a regular morning round -
not the early one who drops through blank, closed doors
of houses where only the dog's awake, and finger-hungry;
but the one who has the parcels, has to knock,
and meets you face to face; and meets your gratitude,
maybe your full-on smile...
but now, the latest guy (where do the happy ones all go?) -
he's really weird. He must know by now
that I'm eager for his ring, because that means
another poetry book; and yet when I unleash unshaven joy
and greet him like a friend I've really missed,
he hands me the parcel with his face
turned full ninety degrees to the right, as if
my smile, my breath, bears loathsome foul disease,
or as if in some shared past, I'd done him some unpardonable hurt.
I sometimes wonder if he has some history of abuse, and now
he's scared to meet anyone who might be kind to him...
What a pity that he'll never meet
Mr Weekly Organic Veg
who's born to live in joy, it seems,
whose smile is larger than his face,
whose eyes are shining with a friendship that's unqualified,
and who reminds me in five seconds flat
what life's all about.