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No use crying...

by spud 

Posted: 30 November 2003
Word Count: 284

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Dawn creeps over the slate grey terraces of Beswick Street,
bleeding through the cold inky blackness that has hung still during the night.
Darkened windows capture and reflect the street lights’ amber glow,
while frost clings to the trees,
glistens on the pavements
and shrouds the parked cars.
Slowly the winter sun begins to trickle it meagre heat,
thawing the iced roof tops
and drawing the misty vapour skywards.

All is still.
All is quiet.

A rhythmic
edges around the street bend
carried in the crates and bottles of a milk float.
And at the wheel is
‘Milko’ Johnson,
at least that’s what they always call him.

“Forty years I’ve been a milko,
that’s forty years I’ve carted
cream an’
cheese an’
eggs an’
an’ never had a day off ill.”

Milk white capped and
Milk white coat
he pulls his float to a creaky halt outside number forty-two.
“Four pints of gold top, that’s their usual order.”

Whistling his misty breath
he takes the cold bottles out of a crate.
numb thumbed,
he fumbles and
lets a bottle slip.

It smashes the silence
startles a cat
who leaps on a bonnet
and sets a car alarm blasting.
The milk drips through a drain’s grating.
Milko shrugs his shoulders
and with his black booted foot
shoves the splintered glass into the kerb.
“No use crying over the stuff,” he huffs and
places another gold top on the doorstep of number forty-two.

Once more
all is still
all is quiet
in Beswick Street
apart from
the rhythmic
clinking that is
carried in the crates and bottles of a milk float.
And at the wheel is
Milko Johnson.

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Comments by other Members

Jubbly at 15:04 on 01 December 2003  Report this post
What a neat little piece that totally caught me by surprise. I loved theline, 'No use crying over teh stuff'. Also the stanza beginning 'It smashes the silence' reminded me of a childrens nursery ryhme, something like The House that Jack Built or The Napping House, very good indeed.

Best Julie

peterxbrown at 00:25 on 02 December 2003  Report this post
When I remark that this wonderful poem echoes the spirit of the great Dylan Thomas it is not to suggest that this is in any way a mere copy of that great bard's work but that it is beautiful, humourous and accurate in its portrayal of a real life believable character and has the power and vitality of alliteration and assonance that Thomas was known for.I hope this observation is taken as sincere praise.Its tricky to suggest influences in poets' work but I enjoyed this original poem just as much as the equally rich resonance which once thrilled me (under milk wood). Brilliant!

spud at 22:00 on 02 December 2003  Report this post
Dear Julie and Peter

Thank you both so much for the lovely comments that you have posted.

Julie - I'm so glad that you liked the surprise element to it.

Peter - you are too kind with your praise, but I accept it in the spirit in which it was written. How could anyone be insulted by a comparison with Dylan Thomas? I don't think I have ever been quite so flattered. Thank you!

Love and hugs to you both


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