Household Names

We bought the house from the children of
Bert and Babs – though on the paperwork she
is Iris Naomi Maud, and he
Albert Zion – what design – to embellish Smith
by encompassing the whole alphabet
within his name’s range

                                    and I can’t help leaping to
that Albert, of Lion fame, whose life regretfully
was curtailed by injudicious use of
his stick with an ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle,
such a fine example
from Woolworth’s –

which has also passed on
leaving Poundland, Poundstretcher and Wilko
to run with the baton
of cheap delights – which all goes to show,
what any housewife knows, glitter
and glitz may last for a bit
but dust is a permanent feature.

With the Crossbones

(in the crypt of St Leonard's Church, Hythe)

As the guide drones on in school-ma’am tones
I’m acutely aware of three hundred skulls
socketing me, a similar number at my back.
Carpe Diem is understatement. My partner,
scratching his crotch, tries to interrupt.
I’m sat on hands to obey the NO TOUCH

signs, knowing full well if I volunteered here
I’d cradle each cranium, caress maxillae,
unpack the femur pile for recreation –
respect and sacred being suspect dicta
for dominance, control. After all,
who doesn’t long to be held.

Nancy Charley

If you have any comments on these poems, Nancy Charley would be pleased to hear from you.