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Lead Wait



An old lead can, grey weight, it was,

for watering the garden pots.

I used it, as my Dad had done,

before plastic ubiquity.

A family heirloom Grandpa held

as nurtured seedlings, garden plot.

But it was taken by the men

when working flat out on the roof;

admitted they had used it there

to cool felt melted edges, sealed.


A few quid for the meltdown, guessed -

but it had fed the veg I ate;

that meltdown was the state, my hate,

so angry at their arrogance.

Who took the lead, suggested theft?

Which led the plan to take my can,

a leadership in thievery?

With leaden feat, retreating gait,

for had no truck, such lightweight steel;

but I was led another way.


So what can that pair make instead -

fake downpipe of a former age,

some roofing cover, guttersnipes,

a lead-lined coffin for their bed?

And there it lay, my dead idea,

that they could both be hit by lead

or even led to lead as shot -

my grouse for more, no ifs or butts;

lead crystal, oxide, clearer course,

read ball, predicted future rôle.


The first thought is lead poisoning,

that they might use its spout to drink,

those hewers, drawers brought to book,

some heavy water by accounts;

or simply sip from my lead pipes,

if piping hot then better still.

Perhaps they’ll have an argument,

one swing the pitcher, other’s head.

Add lead to gym weights held on high?

Or can it be an accident?


A tripping fall, to concrete dashed,

a slip maybe on muddy soil,

a temple caught on garden wall,

a crash though greenhouse, cut glass gash,

the landing strip of cacti pricks?

Or is my can in melted form,

a molten spill to scar the skin,

for murder-hole, portcullis gate,

to pour down on deserving heads

like soldered lead-came in stained glass?


For they will have to carry can

that they should steal memorial.

As they first came here to ‘The Smelt’ -

this village known for mining works -

it seems poetic justice spent

to stand them, plumbline, plwm, Pb.

My thrill as vocal clergyman

that I’m presiding at their pyre;

can dust to dust be watered now

as they both zinc into the earth?



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