A grey, autumn, Saturday afternoon,
And the last run of the week has been done.
The wagon — the Austin six-wheeler or
The Guy Big J6 — is parked in White’s yard,
Its tank full of diesel — hand-cranked by Dad —
Its tipper bed brushed clean and gravel grey
For the Monday morning Mendips run.
Old Norm’s had his chops, his mash and two veg,
And his cup of tea. Mum fusses and knits,
And wonders what else is on the TV.
Dad’s smoked his well-practiced hand-crafted rollie —
Golden Virginia and green Rizla,
Of course — and the wrestling’s not yet on;
Time, then, to rest that weary old grey head.
I always liked the photo — as out-of-focus and underexposed as it is — as it captured a particular Saturday afternoon mood: my feet up on the arm of a chair, and Dad snoozing, back in the days when a working week was five and a half days.
I’ve wanted to update this poem for a while. Originally an 11-line poem, it cried out to be a sonnet. The other decision – should it rhyme? I quickly decided it shouldn’t, and maintained the free line-endings of the spontaneous original. It is in iambic pentameter, however (mainly – there are a couple of line endings where a syllable is dropped or added).