Old Money (Fete Day at the Old People's Home)
It's hard for you to sit here and keep
your value. You are at the mercy
of other people's whims. 'Come on'
says the boss. 'Get these residents outside!'
You look bewildered at his brusque
command, compress your lips as if not
quite ready to be addressed in this
peremptory way. 'It's fete day' I explain.
'We're supposed to go out and spend.'
I sell you the excitement of the tombola.
Convince you the um-pah of the band
will bring some new circulation to your
step. 'Meeting people will be such a
lovely change from sitting here.'
You look at me through the one frosted,
one clear lens of your glasses -
incredulous. But you can't be bothered
to resist. You withdraw all argument.
So up we get, and your stilted stride
carves up the rows of pop-socked legs,
this great flotilla of zimmers. You
dig in your nails, fearing the raised
threshold. 'Where's my handbag?'
you wonder. 'Have I got the wherewithal?'
Coppers and half-crowns clink-clink
their ancient heads. And they, like you,
must fear their loss of currency.