Great Pulteney Street - in Bath
I go shopping every day
for this and that;
things to wear, things to eat -
Honeyed beauty warms the days
as I walk down Georgian splendour.
Above, massed chimneys tower
over flimsey aerials;
slates sloping onto high-perched gables
whose occupants have gazed
upon those bustling below
They have heard the clip-clop of horses,
the cries of ‘Lavender’ and ‘Rag-and-bone’,
the rustle of furbelows
and the march of military men.
Those chimneys once swirled with pungent smoke,
and down the street carts trundled,
heavy with sacks of hard-mined coal,
while upstairs tweenies swept the ash - until
through litanies of time these high-homed voyeurs
came to be gazing upon me, and bustling others
on our way to purchase things
that they had never heard of.
We have absorbed the world outside
our comfort zone,
so I shop for avocado pears, and passion fruit.
I pass motor-cars marooned in passive parking.
No clip-clop here - no broughams
by the kerb-side. Yet, somehow -
as I walk along I feel their presence.
Those ribbons, wigs and bonnets
have not faded quite away.
There are shadows.
Perhaps the honeyed beauty of Bath stone
has absorbed their being,
given them a life.
There seems such a palpable presence
that is so companiable, so alive.
I smile as I walk its length -
somehow I am never lonely in
Great Pulteney Street.