How they got up onto their capstone seat
five feet above the ground,
Lulu Hosking, and Mary Bennetts
(their names are written neatly on the photo),
is anyone’s guess,
though it looks to me as if Peter
has taken off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves
and lifted them there - hard for a chap like him,
not cut out, the pen in his waistcoat tells us,
for physical work.

He sits by the upright,
hat off, with a Woodbine and a look that says
it’s bloody hot work at the Frying Pan.
Not easy for the women, come to that,
being helped up in those short dresses
by a man without a surname.
And those unsuitable shoes!
More Saturday night Flamingo Ballroom
than what you’d normally wear
to pick your way to a Sunday quoit,
balancing with arms out,
tiptoeing, flapping, giggling,
heels giving way,
Peter’s wayward dog snouting
the edges of an ancient field.

Gary Matthews Mabe March 2013

 

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