Refrains for the Plain and Simple

Neither of my parents was ever plain; most certainly neither was simple. Handsome divels the pair of them in their primes. I suppose I wanted the title to refer to their shared deep down commitment to uncomplicatedness in their manner of living and being within their community and culture.


Refrains for the Plain and Simple


Often he’d have to wait months, or even years

before enough bits would present themselves for a job.

Nothing was thrown away that might come in handy.


Old doors, wardrobes, window-frames, fetched, carried,

barrowed from condemned terraces slouching in rows

or cadged from lads dismantling huts on allotments;

nuts, bolts, washers, screws; nails

rusted, bent, re-straightened by taps of the hammer.


Everything stood in anticipation of whenever.

And always it came, as sure as dad was dad;

so much dead wood reborn as well-made shed.


My mother was the same with balls of wool for her knitting;

the pair of them were artists, unconscious, unwitting.


No bull-shitting.

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