No 65 - 1976
Of course it all happened a long time ago now,
twenty-three years come September, at a rough estimate,
and a lady called Miss Coop was in charge of Traffic,
and her main assistant was a wee Scotsman called Gill,
and I was only a trainee - and so was James Cameron,
a very intelligent queer who was later killed by a pickup
(though he made a name for himself before that, you might say,
and a lot of money, in Market Research) -
it’s never safe for queers, like tarts they’re always being murdered,
or blackmailed, or sneered at by Rugger Club hearties.
Now let me see, where was I? Oh, yes, there was this set-up.
I’d just finished four weeks’ (was it?) training in Vouchers,
with a rather sadistic martinet called Mr. Sparrow
who used to say
‘What I did during the war is my business’
in a way that immediately suggested the Black Market.
If he didn’t like anyone he often said, wisely,
“He won’t make old bones in Crofton’s!”
(I have to disguise the name of the firm, it’s usual,
though there are those still living who could tell you
how it was somewhere not a thousand miles from Oueensway
- or was it Kingsway? My memory fails me).
All the papers were filed on racks, some at room height.
I once had to get one from the very top; being new,
I climbed up by hand (it was hard) like a monkey.
When I came down Mr. Sparrow said, grinning:
‘There’s a ladder, Mr. Ewart. Why didn’t you use the ladder?’
There was a ladder. Nobody told me.
Everyone laughed - I don’t blame them. Vouchers
was really for everyone terribly boring.
And once Miss Coop said to me, in a winning way
(but Miss Coop was very nice, she wasn’t a Sparrow),
“Would you like to go and fetch some copy, Mr. Ewart?”
and I really thought, through mishearing, she meant coffee -
and I was nearly on my way to The Laughing Moo-Cow,
or whatever it was called, to order an espresso.
So you see, life isn’t easy. It’s always complicated.
Nearly a quarter of a century! And a firm that doesn’t exist now!
What remains of it all? These tattered memories
hang in my mind like the battle flags in churches.
But that’s life, some say. A rich and varied tapestry.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The