You were always so slow to take your leave,
crumbs and tobacco dripping from your clothes
as you wheezed up from the depths of an armchair
like the sea-spilling, barnacled Mary Rose.
Cumuli of pipe-smoke would fill the porch
as you made heavy weather of your wellingtons
or fished in every pocket for a neckscarf,
fingering your toggles like precious stones.
And still the time to reach in that great chest
of yours for a word about the chances
of rain tonight, or to stand like a pillar
by the lawn-edge inhaling the crysanths.
Salt of the earth, monument to monuments,
who never hurried anywhere, except this once.
From Blake Morrison's `Selected Poems' (Granta, pounds 8.99)
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies