Reflections At A Bus Stop

This poem comes from the anthology From sleep-dark tower blocks. This was published by Hackney Library Services in 1976 and was a collection of poems from the 1974 and 1975 Hackney Poetry Competitions.

Reflections at a Bus Stop

The wind bites hard round the ‘ninety three’ bus stop.
Poor old dear!
A shrunken monument
To futile dreams and disappointment,
Her meagre provisions in a tattered canvas bag.

Wrinkled face,
Wrinkled hands,
Wrinkled stockings,
Wrinkled hopes.

“This pretty schoolgirl,
I was like her once,
Glowing with schoolgirl dreams,
And quite impossible schemes.
The fairy-lands of my childhood books
Seemed never far away,
Though times were hard.
‘Perhaps I’ll marry a prince’ I’d say.
‘The ninety three is late today’.
Tom was my prince, I suppose.
Dear Tom, always a smile.
So smart he looked in his Sunday suit,
And brightly shining boots.
Good to be with, was Tom,
‘Quite a catch’ they said,
Though I was pretty then.
‘I think it’s trying to snow again’.
Poor Tom, he had to go,
‘He had to join his mates’.
Always smiling Tom.
‘The war will not be long,
I’ll be home for Christmas love’.
A cloud of steam from the carriage wheels
Hid his face. Then he was gone…..
Forever.

I hate this bitter weather.
I’ll light a fire when I’m home,
I’ve saved a little coal.
Better keep it though,
It might be colder still tomorrow,
Just wrap up in my shawl.

I wish I’d had a daughter.
That Mrs. Moss is lucky with her Jean,
So good to her Mother.
Nothing’s too much bother or fuss,
She’s lucky Mrs. Moss.
Ah! Here’s the bus.”

“Move down the back please”.
“Sorry love, full up”.

Wrinkled face,
Wrinkled hands,
Wrinkled stockings,
Wrinkled hopes.

The wind bites hard round the ‘ninety three’ bus stop.

K.G. Lewis

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