16.15 Saturday 13 February 2021

. . . sparks of bantz through the muffle of a mask

16.15 Saturday 13 February 2021

You should be in your place by now – in the corner, by the bar,
taking a sip from the head of a newly settled pint as
the pub fills with the warmth of red.
There should be laughter and leg-pulling
and getting in another pint and
shouting at the ref.

Today, will you be wearing your lucky red Timberland top?
What’s the point …?
I know there’ll be no pint – too early in the day.
No shouting ’til you’re hoarse, no singing,
just a solo groan, the odd expletive lobbed at the radio
and a contented poke of the fire if they win.

Nevertheless, you tend your little flame
with sparks of bantz through the muffle of a mask.
You store up kindling for stories and jokes,
you read the back pages, you’re up to speed.
You’re just waiting to join with all the little flames,
from all the little houses,
to make a blaze on a cold afternoon.

Saturday 13 February 2021 was the day of a rugby Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales. This poem was conceived before the final score was known.

Saturday 13 February 2021 was also the end of week 8 of the third lockdown in Wales because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Obviously, at the time of writing, the final score of that battle is unknown as well.

Photo ©Margaret Walton 2015. Words ©Susan Walton 2021.

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