Sunday Morning

Darts sapped of their energy, impaling the bull's eye.

One only triple-twentied all night, parallel

To the floor and in line with the sunrise beams

Streaming into the shop now,

And striking the white like an elongated cue

But with no ball moving despite the speed.


No movement,

But a nostril's twinge of disquiet

At the spilt beer wanting to ferment under the pungent odour

Of stale male urine from the back somewhere.

And the sour smell of vomit from a corner-table

Missed in last night's hasty closing-time wipe-up.


A pile of tiny matchstick chips (from four of equal number),

Where honest-to-goodness, upright, clean-playing bridgers

With never a thought for gambling,

Having decapitated the explosive tips,

Had flicked them with hopeful aim

Through the gap in the swing-doors.


Beard in the tall glasses, dregs in the smaller:

Gleanings for tomorrow's sweeper.

He won't touch the stubs either - filter or not -

Lung cancer and all that - jazz or no jazz.

The occasional potato crisp (though no longer crisp)

Will do no gastric harm with Worcester sauce.


Left for the sweeper - poor wretch.

He has to clean up the night before's

Dop [1] - a lonely Sparletta one (we don't count the sodas);

Young Harry's in fact - he came to keep an eye on dad - tut tut!

Bought the War Cry - even read it,

But left his incriminating alibi on the counter - for the sweeper.


January 1971


[1] South African slang for bottle top