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.

loss of powerloss of relevanceold age

New Library at Pontefract ►


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Andrew Brown

Thu 4th Oct 2012 09:47

Greg - thank you for your kind words. Enjoyed your 'The Road North' in the York anthology. Am I right in thinking the 'tinderbox summer' you mention is 1976?

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Greg Freeman

Wed 3rd Oct 2012 13:02

Have just come across this, Andrew, and I think it's masterly. So well-observed - "the rows of pop-socked legs / this great flotilla of zimmers". And how much of it all comes down to money. One of the most successful poems I've read on Write Out Loud in a long time.

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Andrew Brown

Thu 19th Apr 2012 20:17

Thanks for your comment, Ray. It made me look up your profile: Nicely turned poems - and, in relation to mine, ironic I should find the line "they take me at face value: I sell them short"!

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Ray Miller

Thu 19th Apr 2012 19:55

Enjoyed this, it's nicely observed and kind of gentle. From the perspective of carer to resident, I assume. You can rather see the ending coming, though.

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John Coopey

Mon 16th Apr 2012 22:39

Fk me, Browny! What you doing here?
Is there no solace?
I thought there was a QA Dept.

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M.C. Newberry

Mon 16th Apr 2012 18:48

A moving observation on facets of old age, tho'
I am uncertain of the focus (from whom/to whom?) of the content. I loved the line "this
great flotilla of zimmers".

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