A Long Walk on a Winter Morning
I walk in dawn dark
And the canal creaks
An icy yawn.
A light sparks like
A two wheeled firefly as
An early bike flashes past.
More lights, luminescent
Dashes and skittering feet,
The pant of the first dogs.
The houseboats moored
Are winter few, silent
The gloom lifts and
Duck breakfast patrols
Lead soporific swans.
The new flats are sparsely
Lit by a few early risers, the faint
Hiss of radios and kettle song.
A window open only enough
To prevent winter seeping in,
But letting the first spliff thicken the air.
On to the road, still quiet, as
Apologetic buses, yellow lit
And warm, trundle up the hill.
A girl walks by, lost in
Morning reverie of headphone bliss,
Purple hair blending with purpling skies.
A passing smile and the
Doppler hiss of rhythmic beats
Fading with each purposeful step.
The Full English café stirs to life.
A few full English stir their third cup of tea,
Wiping plates clean with some sliced white.
And the windows steam with
Condensation and conversations
On the latest party revelations from No.10.
The crematorium is preparing for the day ahead,
As the cemetery gates open and the first
Bouquets are lain in solemn remembrance.
And those I pass as we skirt the cemetery walls
Are reverent, respectful, and we exchange good mornings
In hushed tones, not wishing to disturb the peace.
The clouds remain heavy and a greyness
Infuses everything and everyone, even the
Winter smiles of the morning walkers are grey
Listless and weary, wearing an impatience
With winter and its extended nights, longing
For the returning warmth of spring.
Only the dogs remain enthusiastic.
Pulling on leads with eagerness -
Let loose the dogs of winter!
And life slowly drifts to fill
Streets and pathways, semi-
Conscious, metronomic, routine, humdrum.
Winter blankets us and even the most
Optimistic find it hard to shed its cloak.
But we take the long winter walk,
Knowing that it will end,
As all walks must.