The King and Castle, Kidderminster

Will Hatchett

Old men slouch in the drab gentility

Of the nostalgic railway waiting room

With its Thirties posters and station clock

Rustling their pages, merely keeping warm.


A Midlands town on the edge of nowhere –

Bricks baked from the earth, in ochre roads

The skeletons of mills, an oily canal.

Clouds slide across the pewter sky like shrouds.


In a curious archaeology

Their memories are reflected in here –

A world of rock cakes and steaming tea urns

When cigarette smoke fogged the atmosphere.


There were no poncy trades. People made things.

The ghostly men drink their beer, patiently.

My eyes stray from the oxblood walls. Outside

Two white gulls drift over the rooftops.