An allotment of minutes – Matt Nicholson

An allotment of minutes
There is a man here,
working a walled garden.
Turning soil,
he makes decisions about the weeds,
about what is fit for compost,
to grow better weeds next year.

He fights the kettle in his shed
and conjures unpotable tea,
he remarks upon you and me,
under rusting, screw-thread breath,
that we are the wasters of days,
trespassing on his hours.

The blister on his spade hand
is at that point in its journey
where it might harden to a callous
or burst like an angry star.
Pausing, he spits into his ringing palm,
rubbing filthy hands together.

By noon, when the birds sleep,
he has forgotten about us, watching.
He is lost in the version of the world
that he governs as best he can.
Executing febrile plans,
he makes allies of the elements.

His day, the old man working,
unlike ours, the wasters watching,
will end up with an aching back
and a tale of unused time.


Matt Nicholson is a poet from East Yorkshire…where the culture comes from…His collection “There and back to see how far it is” was published by King’s England Press in October 2016. ( Twitter:@MattPoetHull

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