A new poem by Jerry McGrath

Tony’s Scrap Book

Today I went out in PJ’s
a warm flannel print with sheep
aboard. A parker overhung
my mostly blue sleepers,
breaking easily across a pair
of fleece-trimmed boots.

I went to Holy Oak and ordered coffee
and crossed my legs
and dandled an unlaced boot
over a growing pool of snow-melt.
I observed laptop islands
of light, their attendees slouched
towards screens, earbuds in.

All I’d brought to read was Tony’s Scrap Book.
In 1930 Tony Wons collected gems
of verse such as “Useful Feet” and
“Broken Veterans of Commercial Wars”
and “Is This Life?” which asks: “And is this life?
To wrestle every day with Fate
for that mean wage she hates to pay.”

Too big a question, perhaps, to be
attempted in PJ’s.

Tony was a radio man and these
rough gems came from his listeners
wanting to disperse humour and virtue
and pithy little plums of just-so stuff.
What might Tony have made of server farms
and entire republics of cats and dogs in every guise
of oddity and cuteness and obliquity of love?

Mourning the occasion yesterday, I wore
tie and vest and jacket and fresh shirt
to face the just-announced fact
you weren’t coming back.