3 o’clock

Look at that house

where I live and make these thoughts move

like clouds overhead

be kind they said

but then sink instead

like smog

cicadas swoop and fall

seeking rhythm

the tick and tock

the children arrive

and turn surprised

to see me outside

at 3 o’clock.

Man lying on a wall

Man Lying on a Wall (1957) by LS Lowry

A moment of joy lifts him
from pavement onto factory wall
from straight to horizontal he paints
a line into his fag and he and
the chimneys smoke and
the clock tower strikes

and the bus pulls up
and we all journey home
through soot and chill, but he’s
not going anywhere soon. A man,
lying in state balancing his hat
like a crown on his belly

for all the world and his dog
to see. The steady fall and rise
of middle-age. Brolly and briefcase
stand to attention,
ready for battle

against the hazy smog, the stretcher bond
of bricks and mortar. A sense,
then, of contemplation
only wants an artist
by chance on the top deck
of a bus passing and then this painting

for us to remember him by.

I wrote this parody of the poem ‘Man Walking’ by Owen Lowry in October 2013.