Poems to share

Trolley Man

When someone asks, Could I have
a sandwich with some cheese in it?
I will say No sandwiches today!

And if anyone should ask for coffee
I will say, Hot water not working.
Shocking, isn’t it?

I will wheel my trolley from one end
of the train to the other, smiling
magnificently at everyone.

And when a lady asks,
I don’t suppose you’ve got
a piece of shortbread
some lovely, lovely shortbread?

I will say, No my dear
all the lovely shortbread has gone.


© Julian Stannard, from Heat Wave (Salt Publishing, £9.99) and highly commended in The Forward Book of Poetry 2021.

With kind permission of the poet

Julian Stannard

Heat Wave is Julian Stannard’s eight collection. Earlier work includes Average is the New Fantastico, in collaboration with the artist Roma Tearne (Green Bottle Press, 2019), Sottoripa: Genoese Poems (Canneto, 2018) and What were you thinking? (CB Editions, 2016). He has received the International Troubadour Prize and his work has been nominated for both the Forward Prizes for Poetry and the Push Cart. He teaches at the University of Winchester, and has worked for the Poetry School (London). He reviews for TLS. His film poem ‘Sottoripa’ can be accessed on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/82730928