(or, “If you’ve never done it, try it once”)
This poem was written in honour of an old guy I worked with briefly in a drawing office in Nottingham. He would turn up to work at nine o’clock precisely every morning, put on his brown draughtsman’s coat, place his lunch box under his drawing board, and wait to be told what to do. Considering that I was his much younger boss who used to roll in somewhere before ten, mostly, in my jeans and with my long hair in about as much of a mess as the inside of my head, this was not a particularly comfortable arrangement. But it never seemed to bother Arthur. He just plodded his way through the working week, completely unfazed by anything going on around him. Great political events passed him by, social upheavals and scandals slipped through unnoticed. Of course, without him, nothing much would have got done. So, in praise of the untroubled, thank you Arthur.
Setting his plastic gnome up in the garden,
Mister Once Weekly stepped back and then smiled,
his unlined, untroubled face lit up for a moment,
before he went back in the house.
The day had seemed normal, it had started at six,
when his wife woke him up with a smile,
he turned on the radio, ate up his egg,
and was there for the train on the dot.
The journey was always the same on a Monday,
the train WAS a few seconds late,
however, the bus was a few seconds early,
so the office was reached in good time.
His desk looked the same as it did every morning,
the routine of work went as planned,
afternoon flashed past as morning had done,
and time to go home soon arrived.
It was then he was struck by the great ‘inspiration’,
(a thing he’d been planning for months),
a gnome for the garden was going to be purchased,
the deed was performed there and then.
The bus and the train took on a new meaning,
as they carried him on his way home,
a new sense of urgency buzzed in his head,
and the precious gnome sat on his knee.
His arrival was greeted as usual,
by a wifely embrace and a kiss,
but he brushed her aside as he raced out the back,
to the beautiful four-foot-six pond.
Then, setting the plastic gnome up in it’s place,
Mister Once weekly was pleased,
for that day had been different,
the Day of the Gnome,
a day to remember indeed.
© David Hermelin 2016