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
of a hat.
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.
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
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,
On a Saturday,
in the rain.