A mass of clinging entrapment
graces the drifting storm
in a conspiracy of eeriness
on a cloudy day.
Frozen faces upturned to the waves;
discussing ways and means;
bold an evil drifting on the tide,
It is rumoured in these parts
that gold-heavy galleons
vanish in the sun
when the mist clears.
By Donna Menadue
Such afternoon glooms, such clouds chimney low –
London, the clouds want to move but can not,
London, the clouds want to rain but can not –
such negatives of a featureless day:
the street empty but for a van passing,
an afternoon smudged by old afternoons.
Soon, despite railings, evening will come
from a great distance trailing evenings.
Meantime, unemployed sadness loiters here.
Quite suddenly, six mourners appear:
a couple together, then three stout men,
then one more, lagging behind, bare-headed.
Not one of them touches the railings.
They walk on and on remembering days,
yet seem content. They employ the décor.
They use this grey inch of eternity,
and the afternoon, so praised, grows distinct.
by Dannie Abse
from A Small Desperation (1968)