Tuesday, 2 July 2013
The Annual Charity Barbecue
Close by the entrance
and the ticket seller,
men in aprons deftly wield skewers,
long-handled forks and spatulas,
behind a row of well-used charcoal barbecues.
Tortured sausages, slabs of bacon and shrivelled burgers
are on offer,
we paid for them
so we accept the offer
with a smile and graceful thanks.
There’s more to come.
There’s plain boiled rice,
green salad and potatoes,
tomatos, onions, bread rolls too;
and here’s a splash of colour,
a bowl of couscous mixed
with peppers, beans and celery,
which empties fast.
The day is bright and sunny,
plastic tables and random chairs
huddle under awnings, just in case,
but there are those who trust in luck
and move their table out into the sun.
Two members of the clergy guard the wine,
one pound per glass of red or white
and cheap at twice the price.
Yet no one dares to ask for more than two at most.
The gossip flows,
good-natured tales are told
and absences of long-term friends regretted.
“I would have thought she’d be here”,
“what can have stopped them coming?”
“They’ve changed the day, that’s why.
It’s never been the same as when Joyce did the honours.
She made it with her laughter and huge heart.”
It’s true, too many of the old guard
have been lost to age and death.
Who will be here next year?”
“I hear that Bob’s not doing well."
But all in all: “it was a good day,
the takings are respectable.
The best thing is,
we’re all agreed,
"The weather did us proud."