Poetry: Crossing | clivejames.com
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Old men with beards remind me of my father:
surplice white, a beard of blessing,
Father Christmas face.

I just can’t help but smile at them,
old rabbi daddies, walking in the street.

My dad will tip his hat at everyone
he meets — old-fashioned courtesy —
now leaning slightly on his stick.

Does he greet dark-haired daughters too,
with just a touch of extra love?

Come to this city then and see me weave
among the crowds that beat
these concrete pavements every day.

(You’ll never have the time to greet them all,
these urgent hurriers.)

But tap-tap slowly to the kerb, hold up your staff
against the iron roar, and when the wood leaps
in your hand, strike at the tar.

There’ll be a stillness as the faultline fissures
deeper than the Underground.

The engines stop, the hush reminding us
of history and grace.
The clear ‘good morning’ from your smiling face
settling among us like a dove.