The Umbrella Man

Glorious glorious sunshine
and not one sign of anything else in the sky
not one sign of a fluffy white cloudlet
or even a single herring-bone
and strange to say not even one vapor trail
in this day's blank blue sunlit sky.

The weather forecast
is on the Sony Walkman
when I take some garden rubbish
to the large green compost bin
at the end of the street -
record temperatures for the time of year
warm wind from Africa
high pressure over the Alps
quicksilver climbing
to a record 21 celsius.

Coming towards me a man about his business
determined stride
confidently swinging his umbrella
carrying a large green shoulder bag.

Mysterious. An umbrella - this weather?
And a large green bag?

The stranger stops at the bottle-bank
and sets down his green bag on the pavement.

Now he starts fishing. Yes, fishing
with his umbrella. Out of the bank
come the beer bottles -
hanging delicately on the umbrella's tip. One
by one he fishes them out. A catch every almost time.

One, two, three, four, five . . .
he lines them up on the pavement.

When he's finished he transfers the catch
to the green bag
and soon it's bulging with bottles, it takes
a hefty heave to lift it. Now off he goes
with his bulging bag of bottles
rattling gently down the street,
his umbrella casually swinging
pointing the way.