"Could you give me a bite to eat?" said he, As he tarried by my back door. And I thought of the dull, lean days that be As I glanced at the clothes he wore: Patched in places, and worn and old, Yet cosy enough to fend the cold. And I caught the glint of his gay blue eye, Sure sign of his slogan: "Never say die". "Could you spare me a trifle to eat?" said he; "For it's tough on a man these days." Then, somehow or other it seemed to me, Some trick of his voice, or ways, Stirred half lost thought. But I let it go, As he said that his tea was "pretty low": And his sugar-bag, too, was "well-nigh out". "Tho' I'd hate", he added, "to put you about." "Could you do with a couple of chops?" said I. "Some eggs and a ration of bread?" "Why, mister, that would be comin' it high! It's a feed for a king!" he said. So with this, and a trifle of sugar and tea, Tucked under his arm: "Thanks, boss", said he. "It's hard on the roads when yer out of a job ... D'yeh think yeh'd be missin' a couple o' bob?" "One minute!" I bade him, as memory stirred. "Have I ever seen you before?" "Seen me?" said he. "Why, upon my word! For the half o' my life or more, I been comin' round nigh every year. An' I never yet drawed a blank - not 'ere. An' I'll say this for yeh: you ain't too bad As a regular customer - best I've 'ad."
This poem was also published in the collection:
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-05|