It’s Saturday on the canal bank.
Three city types, hands in suit pockets,
stroll along the barge path.
Two huddle close together in hot debate,
business bodies turning over life
Slightly behind, a straggler, smiles,
head lifted to the bright sunshine.
Head lifted to the bright sunshine,
a student meanders
on the straight length of the canal.
Last night, she made love, all night,
to a complete stranger, without a condom.
She hears the town hall clock,
strike ten .
She hears the town hall clock
as a tweeded, middle aged, thoughtful thinker,
stops and gazes at the chill black water,
reflecting buildings… clouds in the sky.
He purses his lips in anger
at the noises of the traffic.
And walks on alone.
And walks on alone,
passing a woman, a mother linked
arm in arm with her sister,
tagged behind by two boys.
One is alive with wonder,
“How still it is, like time stopping.”
How still it is like time stopping,
for the two fishermen,
flanking the bank,
since six this morning.
They are hopeful, for they caught a pike,
one Saturday on the canal bank.
One Saturday on the canal bank,
head lifted to the bright sunshine,
she hears the town hall clock strike ten,
and walks on alone.How still it is, like time stopping.