Five o’clock

I’ve been away from the computer for most of the last week, but now I’m back with a slightly longer poem than I usually write.

072a

At five o’clock the fire is lit.

Around the table we all sit,

With buttered bread and eggs and ham,

With cups of tea and cake and jam.

The idle talk is of the day,

The work now done, the latest play,

And ‘Anything to watch tonight?’

Or in the warmth and soft lamplight,

Perhaps we’ll read and play a hand,

Of whist, or bridge, you understand.

And ‘Don’t forget, at half past nine,

The radio – it’s music time.’

Then bank the fire, put out the lights,

The household settles for the night.

 

The heat blasts out in every room,

And lights and games and TVs soon

Take over so completely that

It’s pointless even trying to chat.

The sounds of gunfire, screaming cars,

Exploding buildings, and on Mars

The aliens armed with laser beams,

Are killed on several different screens

In different rooms by different boys,

With highly deadly killing toys.

The evening mealtime’s such a treat,

With pizza, chocolate, crisps and sweets.

Although it seems they all are eating

Different things at different sittings.

 

‘A cup of cocoa? I don’t think

That that will do, an energy drink

Is what I need, the evening’s young,

And there’s still much that’s to be done.

And if I cannot concentrate,

Upon this game, it’ll be too late,

The zombies will have won and then

I’ll go back down to level ten.’

It’s one o’clock, they still can’t sleep.

There’s not much point in counting sheep,

‘cause they’re all battery-powered toys,

Just so much electronic noise

And moving parts all running round,

And round and round and round and round.

 

I’m standing now beneath night skies,

Pale silver light from fresh moonrise.

I’ve walked for almost half a day,

It takes that long to get away

now, searching for a quiet place

Where I can pause and have some space.

I’m thinking how it used to be,

At five o’clock, the time for tea.

It seems to me that what we’ve gained,

Is not worth any of the pain.

And even more what we have lost,

We should have saved at any cost.

But anyway, now it’s just me

I have my flask, I’ll pour my tea.

 

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20 thoughts on “Five o’clock

  1. I love this, Mick. Even in escaping into nature, you can’t get away from the sounds of civilization. Cars on a distant road, airplanes flying over head. And at home with everyone facing screens instead of each other, it’s no wonder civility is in tatters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If i hadn’t known you were British, I’d have thought you were describing thanksgiving – Canadian style – with family and noisy kids.
    Still, despite the ending, it felt like a cozy evening at home – and a memory to treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen! In some ways, we have lost more than we’ve gained. There’s a commercial here in the states about family dinners, which has a voice-over talking about how dinner used to be (all sitting together, enjoying home cooked meal, “minding your manners”) with the visual of a family eating dinner (fast food) in a car, and a child throwing some food across the room. And the point of the commercial is how much BETTER it is now that we aren’t “old fashioned.” I just shake my head…..

    Liked by 1 person

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