Grandad and a Pramload of Clocks

Wheeling them in,
the yard gate at half-mast
with its ticking hinge,
the tin bucket with a hairnet of webs,
the privy door ajar,
the path gloved with moss
ploughed by metal
through a scalped tyre –
in the shadows of the hood,
in the ripped silk
of the rocking, buckled pram,
none of the dead clocks moving.

And carrying them in
to a kitchen table,
a near-lifetime’s Woodies
coating each cough,
he will tickle them awake;
will hold like primitive headphones
the tinkling shells to each ear,
select and apply unfailingly
the right tool to the right cog
and with movements
as unpredictable as the pram’s
will wind and counter-wind
the scrap to metronomic life.

And at the pub,
at the Grey Horse or Houldsworth,
furtive as unpaid tax,
Rolex and Timex
and brands beneath naming
will change hands for the price of a bevy,
a fish supper
or a down payment
on early retirement
on a horse called Clockwork
running in the three-thirty at Aintree.

by John Lindley