“I’ve got a good joint of pork for you today”
my friendly butcher down the road used to say.
“I saved it ‘specially for you, my dear,
and some special lamb chops, so never fear,
you won’t go hungry this week, my sweet.”
We don’t have that sort of custom today –
we just go to the supermarket, then to pay.
All our meat is packaged, clean and scanned –
we’ll buy what looks good, and what’s close to hand.
We don’t bother to go far down the street.
What happened to the shops where we used to stop
where they knew us as soon as we walked in their shop?
Where they’d give us an apple for all our kids
as we chose our fruit, and made our bids
for the rest of the veg this week we’d eat.
Down to the bakers – I need a bloomer –
and “How’s Mrs Jones? I heard a rumour
that you weren’t well? Are you better now?”
“Ah, yes thanks” I said, wiping my brow –
“It must have just been the heat!”
And then in the grocers, the biscuit tins
at the front of the counter, for those with sins,
full of the bits of broken biscuits, cheap as chips –
never mind what they were likely to do to our hips!
But we only had them for a treat!
And on to the post office which also sold candy,
and bulls eyes and gobstoppers that they kept handy.
Four for a penny, and that’s not so bad
I could buy eight with the pocket money I had!
– but I knew I should not have a sweet.
“I’d like some stamps with Charles and Ann
to save my money so that I can
afford a house when I am older.”
Then with my handbag on my shoulder –
I would go home and rest my feet.