Poetry Corner

Chance encounter

Photo by Nicola Tipton
Audio version of this poem

 I met a man today
 on my puddled walk
 past new-made lakes -
  meadows inundated –
 at Hunsden Lock …
 litter picking.
 Pincering discarded detritus
 laid bare in winter undergrowth
 beside the tow path:
 plastic bottles, aluminium cans,
 glass, crisp packets,
 a pair of underpants …
 As he placed the
 thoughtless cast asides,
 in an empty yellow coal sack,
 I thanked him for his pains.
 He stopped a moment.
 Three yards distanced
 we talked awhile.
 Boat stuff mostly …
 coal and gas, water,
 food supplies, 
 ropes and floods.
 The usual things.
 Exchanged some random 
 details of our lives.
 He’d walked from Parndon Mill
 where his boat is moored.
 First time out post Covid -
  a month holed up:
 cabined, confined on board.
 The sky was heavy, grey.
 Yet, there was something 
 in that chance encounter,
 with a real person,
 flesh and blood, unzoomed,
 that made my day
 as if the sun had shone.
 I liked his smile,
 and he looked kind.
 I did not ask his name,
 but wondered if we’d
 meet again...
 picking litter. 

Nicola Tipton

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