flowers and leaves

As I walk up the hill
from a blue sky a hard rain falls,
driving leaves and flowers to the ground.
As I shelter briefly a man
with a broom and a shovel and a puffed-out black bin bag
shouts
Good morning!
It’s like the confetti after a wedding
or after the Lord Mayor’s Show!
Behind him, the bag tips over and a stream
of brown and pink and green gutters down the street.
Told you! he shouts. Just like it!

Clara and the painter

When Clara opened the door five years ago and let me in, a man was singing opera in another room. It’s the painter, she said, and said no more.

We sipped coffee from delicate white cups and I wondered what sort of artist would sing as he created. Clara flushed and called me bourgeois, incapable of understanding that even workers could appreciate fine things. He was painting the walls.

My cup tipped in its saucer as I lowered it towards the fine lace mat. I righted it and Clara flushed again. Her grandmother had had the sight and saw the future in the grounds.

You should leave, she said.

I did not see her again until a moment ago outside the pavement café. She was pushing a pram and I raised my cup to salute her. She did not respond. Perhaps she did not see me. I did not stand.