We take a wrong turn and are suddenly
in narrow, pot-holed streets, crammed with neglected,
industrial revolution terraces
built when the town was a thriving port.
Paint peels, curtains hang off rails, litter gathers –
in one of the most deprived wards in England.
In walking distance are blue chip companies.
Right to be here, by chance, on this 2012
Budget Day with its economics
of division, mendacity and greed.
Since it is also the first day of spring,
we cross the peninsula to visit
a botanical garden and its tea room.
After a lavender scone and a tiffin,
we stroll to the rock garden and sit
on our favourite bench. Coal Tits are nesting
in a sandstone wall. Some mortar has crumbled,
making a small, triangular aperture.
They perch on a nearby larch and then,
when all is well, both still and silent,
fly quickly in with a leaf or a feather,
and then out again, over and over.
Like flowers, we turn our faces to the sun.
We are the plump and sassy elderly.
In those or other wretched streets, some,
this winter just gone, have died of the cold.