The Hearing Chair


Bolds Street's Hearing Chair
sat there like King Tut
since Adam was a lad,
as far as I know.

It’s heard the rattle of pony and cart,
ladies unfurling parasols
to protect parcels
wrapped in brown paper and string
from Cripps.
Later the same ladies,
maybe a little bustier,
hurried past carrying lingerie from Madam Fonier.

No Big Issue allowed then
people sedately
paced past our hearing chair
posh the byword
but as always no word
from our Hearing Chair.

Posh, until the El Cabala came
with its hissing expresso and
Nancy Whiskey trains
and the less affluent rushed past
with Radiant smiles to buy their first gas cooker
on tick
and now clubbers and students
who frolic
and drink, from bottles!

Sedate until buskers moved in,
apart from the odd penny whistle
soon moved on
by a policeman’s whistle,
because gentleman didn’t like to be disturbed
in their gentlemen’s club
deep in leather winged chairs
with monocled graces and monocled airs.
Hey, perhaps that’s were our Hearing Chair came from!

By Francis Jones