“Hey Kevin,” I called to the gardener next door
Who was giving the roses their fair share of strife
“D’you want to see Venus transit the sun?
“It’s not going to happen again in your life.”
A camouflaged hat crowned a whiskery head;
A pipe was screwed Popeye-like into his face
“Transit of who? What the bloody hell’s that?”
And he stamped through my garden and came to the place
Where I’d angled the telescope straight at the sun.
He peered at a dazzling white circle that glared
Through the eyepiece and onto a sheet of white card.
“That’s the sun,” I whispered and Kevin stared
As a pea-sized dot slowly crossed the sun’s face.
“What the bloody hell’s that?” He scratched his head.
“That’s Venus,” I said and he nodded assent.
“The next time it happens we’ll both be dead.”
And he breathed a sigh of sheer wonderment
“Well booger me gently,” was all that he said.
This poem was shortlisted for The Poems Please Me Prize 2015
Working life for Tim began as a primus stove cleaner with the Outward Bound Schools, followed by 14 years in the Royal Marines where his love of reading, writing, painting, poetry and ballet inevitably led to a parting of the ways. Now retired after working in the petrochemical industry and in career coaching, he has co-authored a book, ‘Walk with the Wise’, a series of reflections on quotations from poetry and prose. In addition to poetry, he is now writing a book of reflections on literature and art as seen through his experiences of life and nature.