She passes the window each day
Pre-Raphaelite hair new penny bright catching the sun
catching my eye.
In this strange time of isolation
she is my only constant
when once it might have been
the morning ferry on the Dart,
the night-bus on Chepstow or church-bells.
she clicks away the days day in day out
heels, halyards tapping idle masts, on cobbles
I do not watch for her
I simply sit writing at the window that she passes
and as she passes
mark another day happy in her constancy.
I do not know her and for that reason can imagine,
invent a life and circumstances
watching her walking in the rain
talking on a hidden telephone,
(she has an American accent),
Laughing and happy
oblivious to the drenching of her hair
perhaps to a lover caught elsewhere, planning a reunion,
a parent in New York, Agent in L.A.
or a comedienne in St Louis
practising new material for want of a live audience
Maybe there is no phone at all
she is an actress learning lines for a show that may never go on
or a schizophrenic happy in her own company
I do not know her name
I shall not give her a name of my making.
In naming something a sense of ownership sets in;
I could no more name her than name
a wild palomino or the salmon that did not rise
or the raindrops on the glass
She does not notice me
I am too old to be of any interest or threat
like a piece of street furniture, or a bicycle
chained to railings slowly losing component parts.
I am invisible and benign
free to count her daily passing
marvelling at her loyalty
happy to have this constant reminder of time and place.
I will leave this place soon
and return to my home not far away
but not close enough to be on her daily route.
Perhaps I will catch sight of new penny bright hair
on Portobello Road, clumsily smile, remember fondly,
lock-down in the time of Coronavirus.