Poetry Corner

Cyril Northcote Parkinson Lived Here

Photo by Jeff Collman from Flickr
"Parkinson's Law -
"Work expands so as to fill the time available to complete it."
CN Parkinson, 1955

It's sixteen miles from Darlington to 1955
and it's clear that Mr Parkinson did not
formulate his law in this small Pennine town
where, according to the photographic prints
of Parkin Raine, nothing much has changed
from Amen Corner to Balliol Street,
from Thorngate Wynd to Scar Top.
Here, the toad of work doesn't squat on the lives
of the owners of the hardware store
which half-day closes every Wednesday
and once again, on Thursday. The florist blooms
on four days out of seven, leaving birthdays
unbouqueted and funerals unwreathed;
the bank still shuts its doors at half past three,
and every time I pass the patisserie
the blinds – striped and faded like a summer
from my childhood - are firmly closed.
So work is kept in its place; time stretches out
like a heather-covered fellside,
and Cyril Northcote Parkinson
moved to a town that didn't contradict him.
Judi Sutherland
From "The Ship Owner's House" published by Vane Women Press.

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