13 April 2008


Before dismissing me again my friends
heed these simple words of greeting; today
we’re meeting in Life’s Cafeteria
as Robert Howard would say, and right
or wrong we join a queue with tray in hand.

Now where you stand disposes you to see
the menu as sustainable or just
a dream – the little plates are plentiful
and seem to offer everything you need
to lead poetic life. So many plates,
a little tray and hunger burns aright.

A little tray cannot contain the choice
of Kings, the offerings are meagre fare –
to say the very least it’s not a feast!
and yet you sing your praises loudly where
the queue meanders past the bain-marie.

It’s there I learn the meaning of your praise –
the bouillabaisse is hardly touched at all,
you’re thankful someone left a slice of pie,
a chunk of bread you recognise as rye,
dessert of crème brûlée in ramekins.

This Cafeteria is Life for some
despite their wisdom telling commonsense
to take a hike. And in that light I’ll leave
you to your piece of pie and crème brûlée...
© 26 March 2008, I. D. Carswell

Robert Charles Howard made the connection
in his poem “Life Is A Cafeteria” – I’m merely
joining the queue!