A designated public place

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You are in a designated public place,

watching a thin stegosaurus of bunting

get battered by the wind. The Jubilee beds,

crowned by grey roses; the never-ending rain.

This time of year there would normally be stalls,


bouncy castles, young mothers wiping picnics

from the faces of toddlers. Look up and you

might see swifts, winding invisible maypole

streamers round the shifting contrail of a jet.

Today, swings unswung, slick, unclimbable frames.


You are in a designated public place,

yet you’ve never felt more private in your life.

Come again when the bins are dizzy with wasps

and the bandstand buzzes with hits you can hum –

before that old gaoler winter chains the gates.