When I am older I shall spend my time
seated at the open window of a room
in The Marine Hotel on Aberystwyth sea-front,
listening to the sea
and remembering my past until
I can no longer remember how I got there.
I will be smartly dressed in what was
last-year’s fashion over fifteen years ago,
reassured by the timelessness of good taste.
From my window I shall hurl
occasional curses at the world because it’s now
what I couldn’t stop it from becoming;
this will be one of my few remaining pleasures.
Another will be to compose poems
which I shall never write down, knowing them
to be my best-ever work but much too good
to waste on the unappreciative.
And after dark I will wonder
if there was ever a time when every single bulb
in the lights strung along the promenade
was working simultaneously ‒
and why nobody seems
to replace the dud ones any more;
each evening I shall sit and watch them,
plinking out one by one.
If you ignore his teenage poetic
fumblings, John began writing
after being persuaded to
accompany his wife on a creative
writing weekend in 1986. He has
lived in Hitchin since 1978 and
has been involved with Ware
Poets since 1991. In 1997 he
took voluntary redundancy from
his job as a railway manager after
deciding that work was starting
to get in the way of other things he
wanted to do – writing among
them. This could explain why trains
sometimes wander through his poems.