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Summat and Nuffin

Summat and Nuffin


Heard before seeing approaching train station;

bubbles of sound that he blows for beguiling

the purposive hordes in their panting impatience –

his smile isn’t worn by the faces that file in.


Sat cross-legged, upturned hat on the pavement,

he strives against platform announcements and sirens 

which torment the ears and evoke imprecations,

which crave our attention while he counsels silence.


Reed in his lips, he looks on as we rush in

to stare at our watches or try to outwit

his unswervable dogs known as Summat and Nuffin,

essential accoutrements of the outfit.


Watered and feted at Job Seekers’ Centres,

on first name terms with impressionable staff,

indifferent to mutterings, envy and censure

hissed from The Mail and The Telegraph.


 Crowd management experts, bred ‘specially for buskers,

barking at uniforms, sniffing the legs

of drinking men gathered in penitent clusters

for hair of the dog and repeated offence.


Cornered commuters at morning assembly

seek higher authority, fidget and shrug,

fumble in pockets to obtain their entry:

Summat and Nuffin share a victory hug!


Amidst cigarette endings and takeaway cartons

the Pied Piper pauses to pat and give praise.

It’s work but it’s art and they play a good part on

this pissed upon, spit upon sawdusted stage.


◄ Study Day on Attachment

Like Benjamin Zephaniah ►


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