The heavy shower drilled on the frosted glass.
We sheltered under one of the high street’s
open arcades with sloping glazed-roofs –
a Victorian refinement to the resort:
shopping sheltered from seaside weathers.
We were, by chance, in front of Poundland:
one window displayed Pepsi Max, the other
Cadbury’s Highlights, both cut-price sugar.
The Bank Holiday crowd sheltering with us
seemed disproportionately stricken, impaired,
overwhelmingly loud or utterly
silent, with austerity’s complexion.
As the rain began to clear a man,
middle-aged, passed using a zimmer frame.
He was engaged in some angry, solitary
dumb show. A woman arrived, high on something.
She had left her whining pug dog tied
to one of the arcade’s wrought iron pillars.
I noted that ‘Punch and Judy’ was to start
on the expansive Promenade, where,
as for a hundred and fifty years and more,
there would be much business with sausages
and Toby the Dog, and Mr Punch
would throw Judy’s baby out of the window.
Only the privilege of good luck perceived
such a continuing farrago of
history and dismay.