Hard Cash

I wonder what you think it means,
The accolade.
Up there on the distant stage, raised atop the watchers,
Suited in the formal grey
As women in gilt jackets, smooth blouses, look on.
You are the possessors of wide shoulders, squarer chins,
An array of dreary tones.

And fair enough, you make your jokes well,
Leaning forward, teasing the room to attention.
Your partner’s thanks, I felt, were meant.
A true cheer with boyish, beaming eyes
(Almost wet)
To all’s help, other men, every one.
And into the great hall slide
Ladders treed on ladders
Where, beneath the branches, leaves darkly rustle,
Look at the first, solid bald streak of trunk.
One nub where a branch was lopped.

I nibble the nibbles
In the hall, panelled and clad in books,
With its velvet carpet, – a ruddy, glorified rug,
And rows of front facing chairs.
They listen; watch both your faces,
At ease, well healed
Across the creases, the scenic routes of age.

A play is made about the medal box
(Or badges, I don’t know)
Holding hard cash.
They might laugh… I think.
You confide:
The busts of the ancient men
Had their heads swapped by cleaners,
No one knew.

If we have any clues… send them to the… er… words fail… relevant authorities.
Mistaken, or not,
We might take your head to the cleaners.
But we look on, hands clapping time, content.


© Kate Charles 2009