Picture this; I’m leaning across a pile of clothes in a boutique,

feeling the brim of a hat.  A middle-aged lady, out of place

though not caring,  

so thrilled by the appearance  

in actuality

the re-appearance,

of a hat.

Look again.

I’m on the cusp of old age

I’m familiar with these things

Styles come and go

and come again.

They’re usually in different materials, 

which adds to the effect that

this is not real.

Style as an affectation

It’s an illusion

But this hat,

with its black, slightly wavy brim, silk ridged ribbon round its crown

is the same hat

made of the same soft felt.

Hat incarnate

that I wore throughout my early teens

which collided with the early seventies

(a sepia-toned time when Laura Ashley was queen.

May she rest in peace)


I felt its felt 

and thought about the time I travelled

on the train with my friend in the day

to dirty Manchester in the rain.

Me in that hat.

We arrived in the pub

Incongruous in our precarious

Silly elegance

Our two lads so sheepish and cocky in their scruffy best.

I kept looking across to the spartan houses 

with their small high windows,

and their dearth of gardens,

(we were wealthy in gardens),

then across to the drinking men,

mainly men, in the middle of the 

Saturday on the outskirts of grainy Manchester.

We were young, in love with life

A rich tapestry we were told,

To keep us going.

I am nearly old now, 

but I still

get a thrill

out of wearing that hat,

in my garden,

or, occasionally,

On a Saturday,

And usually

in the rain. 

First published in the Silver Birch Press “Me in a Hat” series (November/December 2016)

under the title of ” The Occasional Hat ”