Removal men, in overalls
Wheeling cupboards, wardrobes,
Crates, boxes, teachests and the like
The green van, it's great white letters
Ten feet high and fifty wide
Standing patient, quiet,
In leafy and autumnal Lilac Drive.
A small bird twitters, darting in and out
The repeated territorial refrain
"Careful of my life" and "Put that there."
A steady plod of booted feet
The slow draining of an old bath
Water slipping through a mess of hair
Foam slowly melting, loud at last
Rooms bereft, hard, now echo emptily
Bangs sounding louder and more wooden
Even though (in sight at least)
They shift with tender care
Like vergers carry hymnbooks.
The future goes outwards, onwards
Restitution a promise, chains pulled
And tightened, airbrakes hiss
Ropes and pads won't slip
The driver knows the way, he does
A thousand miles a week
With just occasional delay.
Men and van are gone
Lilac Drive returns to scale
The final lock-up, secure yet
Not for you now, only
Empty bottles on the step,
One bare light bulb in the hall
And a cheery welcome note
To inhabitants unknown
Pinned to the kitchen wall
In the pale rectangle
Where the calendar once hung.
DFRW 4th October 2004