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York in Poetry: The Walk

Posted on 24 November 2012 | Poem

It pays to be alert: to be aware
Especially of the people coming and going
Standing or sitting watching or waiting
For their friends or furtively for me
But there is pleasure in this caution
Because I get to notice things:
The weeds on the art gallery roof
German children enthused by squirrels
And the darting wagtail under the trees
A coxless pair and coxed eight resting
Watched by three bright white swans
On the swollen river Ouse
The glorious plumage of hanging baskets
An older man, wheel in hand,
Grinning at his now one wheeled basket
Banners flapping in the breeze
For the food and music fortnight
Bike spokes festooned with multicoloured beads
The house for sale with garden and mews
Daisies, dandelions and clover
Ornamental beds of brilliant red and yellow roses
A tree of white lilac and the giant horse chestnut
Water pooling on the racecourse grass
And unkempt garden of number two nine four
The man in the otherwise black picture window
Using a phone in Knavesmire Lodge
Whitewashed farm house cottage
Next to the grey brown stone church
Pocklington Carpets on the wrong side of town
The ivy covered library opposite the stables
And ancient pinfold preserved
Where sheep no longer safely graze
She, safely enclosed in protective headphones
Submerged in sounds and lovelorn lyrics
Remarked none of these things
Walked alone
So very alone

- Alan Gillott