I’m not much bigger than a Dover sole myself,
but I don’t need mum or dad, or for that matter
Miss Fry, my teacher, to tell me that Freddie’s Fish
and Chip Shop is slap bang on the co-ordinates
of life, the very centre of our universe.
You can forget television and computers.
This is where I learnt the tricks of a dozen trades.
It’s where Bob, our local plumber, explained to me,
in words I hardly knew but soon learnt to master,
why our football team would never win the World Cup.
It’s where I learnt to manage the economy,
and where Big Bertha told me how she got pregnant.
Today I’m treated to one bit of hot gossip
after another, as I stand hip to shinbone
with my Uncle Tom, waiting for lunch: a portion
of greasy chips and a piece of battered haddock,
generously showered with salt and vinegar,
and wrapped in a pert smile from page three of the Sun.
This poem was Commended in the FRP Competition 2014/5
A K S Shaw (aka A K Scutter) (Keith Shaw) was born in 1941 and educated at Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Basingstoke and Hull University. He then qualified, first as a chartered accountant, and then as a solicitor, with firms in private practice in Reading. He joined the Civil Service in 1975 and spent twenty one years commuting to central London from the home counties. He now lives in retirement in rural Somerset and writes poetry as a form of therapy and relaxation.