Councillor Wilkinson is walking the Common,
this quiet morning, early spring,
rehearsing his farewell speech.
The councillor’s mind is tabulating.
The Common is of course his great achievement.
Chairman of the steering group, ’82 to ’89.
Common Development Committee Chairman
through to the noughties.
A sudden racket, yowls and yells.
Small boy, lost ball, a mother fraught.
The ball is wedged below the eaves
of the cricket club pavilion.
But Wilkinson has a walking stick
(an affectation, to be honest),
so reaches, crooks the ball, tugs it out.
Oh thank you, sir. They smile, walk off.
But then. Oh dear.
In tweaking out the ball, he has disturbed,
almost dislodged, a martin’s nest.
It’s angled dangerously. So he climbs
on the refuse bin, smudging the knee
of his trousers, grazing an ankle, reaches,
eases the nest to equilibrium.
Climbs down. Walks on.
Roads and Bridges Chairman. ’84 to ’92.
Forty years in local government.
Councillor Wilkinson, absorbed again,
is rehearsing his farewell speech.
Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has been published widely in Britain, where he has been shortlisted for the Wordsworth Trust Prize, and the USA, where he has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.