Another Man's Treasure
Below watercolour skies he sits content
on tatty plastic sofa – a square peg in this
Overhead, a flock of seagulls shoot the breeze. One
by one they land, establish pecking order; feathers fly
before they dine on whatever they can scavenge.
Under graffiti-daubed, grey arches, his abode;
an inside-out kind of home with river frontage.
With its antique tilt-topped table, a welcome refugee
from some burnt-out stately mansion, a clapped-out
iron framed mangle, circa 1953
and a cello with no strings. Borough Market
just a stone’s throw away; pigs’ trotters, fish-heads,
his for the taking when the stallholder turns a blind eye.
Under frosty, phosphorescent skies, needs must
he gets wrapped up in the news; The Telegraph,
The Independent, whatever he can find. He’s not fussy.
A fingernail moon sails high above Tate Modern,
spawning images – transient, bizarre; shapes and shadows fall
on ochreous walls. Abandoned bathtubs, sinks and stoves,
ever growing hoards of trash, throw a myriad of patterns.
Tin trays clatter-crash – the vermin scatter as the gaffer
on the dump sets to work, sifting, searching, discarding nothing.
One man’s waste is another man’s treasure.
Behind him, the flicker of a fire … a mountain of detritus,
a beacon of our time, burning bright … ever brighter.