Posted by: John Looker | 20 November, 2015

Making The World Go Round


The sounds of an office then were differently wrought:
chairs scraped on the acres of lino
and the telephone, when it rang, would really ring.

The smells of the office were different from ours:
disinfectant from the cleaners’ mops early in the day;
tobacco later, and hints of sweat in the unmoving air. 

And the colours: the mahogany, the cream paint,
and in early dusk the desk lamps glowing
softly through their emerald shades. 

There was time then too. Time with eyes glazing
to refill a pen, to tie up the files with ribbon,
to dictate expansively to poor Miss Jones in her glasses.

People would rise when Mr Julian
made his morning rounds. They’d keep young Murphy
waiting and watch little Daphne turning vermilion 

as they sipped their sweet teas, smirking.
The world beyond was spinning faster and faster –
but the calendar hung on the wall dusty and curling.

© John Looker 2015

This is the first of a new suite of eight linked poems. I shall be posting them daily for a week and, like the poems in my book The Human Hive, they look at life through our experience of work. The book tackles its subject from seven different angles; this new suite is different again – it seems to me that there are many ways in which poetry could explore this theme.





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