The professional

The professional

He has worked out the back all summer
         and it’s now late October
and he’s still here
         Over the months he has demolished
a forty metre garden wall and rebuilt it entirely
         from the foundations up
Two days ago
         when the rendered surface was dry
he painted the wall and replaced
         the water feature
a cement fountain with a large bird-bath
         on a pedestal flanked by two cement rabbits
Week after week I’ve seen new tools arrive
         a small cement mixer
an electric tile cutter
         new shovels and spades
and hammers and saws
         and at one point a pneumatic drill
He’s in his mid-seventies
         and walks and works with a slight stoop
yet I have seen him carrying breeze blocks
         and large bricks and heavy buckets
of sand and earth as though it were all a trifle
         for a man of his age
He has grown into the job
         and often I have caught him
sitting on a bench staring at his handiwork
         with a deep sense of pride

         having returfed part of the lawn
he’s sanding the rest of the grass
         adding the final touches
to his commission
         He’s on the home straight
and for the first time in all this time
         he’s wearing a high visibility jacket
and a white baseball cap
         as if to to say :
Hey look at me
         and see what I have achieved
at my age
         I came through
I never faltered
         I’m a real professional

John Lyons

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