Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


by Robert Nisbet

Two quid, a full day’s earnings. Now,
the auction at the Market Hall.
He’s never been to one before,
just seen the sale ads in the Star.

He loves the café just outside:
these dealers, drivers, men in caps
and cords and aprons, women with
their tresses streaming, scarves and rings.

The hall. He browses. Loves Lot 12,
a copper kettle, tiny thing,
maybe eight inches high, odd bash,
but burnished to a sparkle. Then,
Lot 23, a miniature,
a girl with golden hair (she looked
just like his memories of his Mum).

The auctioneer stands second just
to God, he thinks, but suddenly,
descending like a royal flush,
the thought: Yes, I can bid. Lot 12.
Abruptly, 12, he gabbles, bids,
gets it for fifteen bob. And soon,
the miniature, for just a quid.

The hour following is chocked
and full with gazing on, with lots
and artefacts, before, his goods
brown-paper-wrapped, he stomps his way
to bus and home and bed and board.

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