This marching, these banners, remind me of Tot,
gently spoken, dreadlocked, who once offered
to construct a house for our kids in the tree
at the end of our garden. He’d protested at
the Newbury bypass, built and inhabited
his own tree-house, so we figured he’d take
just a few days or so. He laboured all summer,
hampered somewhat by a refusal to hammer
nails into wood because of the pain that caused
the tree, and a penchant for stopping and staring
at the world from his heightened aspect.
He dropped dead last year, only 57,
a heart attack busking outside the train station.
His partner crowd-funded to pay for the wake
and that would have met his approval.
It was unlike him to exit so quickly, she said,
but he’d never have stood for a bypass.
Ray Miller is a Socialist, Aston Villa supporter, and faithful husband. Life’s been a disappointment.
You can find more of Ray’s work here on Ink Pantry.