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Not An Ordinary Love


It isn't hearts and flowers that I remember

But the rosehip bridges of September

A fading clip and clop of platform clogs

The frosty terraced streets and secret snogs

Splintered benches where we used meet

The windy ginnels, February sleet

The bus-rides over hills to drab cafes

In market towns on winter Saturdays

Taking all account of push and shove

Ours was not an ordinary love

And working for a living at sixteen

Started young back then, we did, I mean

They don't these days – it's not encouraged now

Growing up seemed sooner then, somehow

It isn't Valentines though, I remember

But foggy evening lanes in late November

You in scoop-necks, me in baggy trousers

Staring at the rich folk in their houses

Plotting Premium Bond-wins, hand-in-glove

Ours was not an ordinary love.

– Nor an ordinary time at that

Your first driving lesson, my first flat

Three floors up, the bath, if you were willing

For a one-hour wait and had a shilling

'Seventies – it doesn't seem that long

What was that old Paul McCartney song?

C-Moon. Close to Christmas d'you recall

Arguing outside about it all?

Tears. And then the making of it right.

A far from ordinary night

And all the words I said , I meant and more.

To hang around as woodsmoke at your door

Till early spring, a promise on the breeze

The hazy green that ghosts across the trees

And fields waking up, on days like these

Then later, with the outdoor work begun

You, on a country station in the sun

Waiting on a Friday for the train

To bring your dusty boyfriend home again

Cheerful, after drinking with the guv

Ours was not an ordinary love.

Both of us at work – hard work as such

Twenties, you don't think about it much

Labourer and waitress of renown

Get stuck in, get paid and hit the town

Sod the others and their cold ambition

Were we not in love? We had a mission:

Have a brilliant time before we lost it.

Not sit down with abacus to cost it

In event of judgment from above.

Ours was not an ordinary love

As I said, it wasn't hearts and flowers

Rescuing Rapunzels from their towers

But an atmosphere of stolen hours

Idle shelter from those sudden showers

In museums, like paupers at a ball

Staring at the grandness of it all

Raincoat pockets, ticket stubs and tissues

In those carefree days were all our issues

Shabby pigeon and his scruffy dove

Ours was not an ordinary love

Never big occasions I remember

But the skint nights-in around December

One bar of a three-bar gas-fire, hissing

Lovers on an indoor sunbreak, kissing

Kitchen-trips for optional excursions

Making tea or switching on immersions

Caught by tipsy test card, unawares

Squaring to the challenge of the stairs

After taking stock of their location

Ours was not an average situation

Pop-star posters peeling on the wall

That's what I remember most of all

In the kitchen. making home-made wine

Quite forgot about the valentine

You due home in minutes, from your shift

Had to knock one up – and rather swift

Cardboard, paper, scissors and the glue

"Here's a new-wave Valentine for yo-ou!"

Blackmail typeface from a velvet glove

Ours was not an ordinary love

We never did the jet set stuff – not us

We opted for the railway or the bus

Over autumn moorlands to the sea

Round the ruined castle and some tea

Backstreet book-exchanges then a beer

Ironstone gorges, waterfall and weir

Beaches out-of-season, groynes and dunes

Marram grass and sandy afternoons

Westerlies to give the clouds a shove

Ours was not an ordinary love

Not the trifling trinkets that I bought you

But the courage which it took to court you

Having saddled up and got that far

Was I not your Co-Op Lochinvar?

You, my Happy Shopper Queen of Sheba?

Hair by Icarus and eyes by Biba

Aramis for me, Kiku for you

Fragrant then, if nothing else, we two.

Wrapped around each other when as supple

This was not an ordinary couple

This was not an ordinary caper

And it never made the local paper

In the pics we never looked our parts:

"Can we have you holding up your hearts?"

We never had the attitude or look

We never made the film or wrote the book

We never got our music on the shelves

And only ever famous to ourselves,

We both became recluses, didn't care

We were not an ordinary pair.

Now, if you find crows feet round your eyes

Or some piffling ounces on your thighs

And the hint of puckering round your lips

God forbid – a pound upon your hips

Not to ever notice is my game

Telling you, you've always looked the same

Or ignoring everything you've said

Pleading urgent business in my shed

Since I'll only see the things I can

Am I not an ordinary man?

Should the winter ambush, with no warning

Let me set your grate up in the morning

Let me get your breakfast, make your coffee

Fetch bad-weather brandy from the offy

Be your Greyfriars Bobby who would wait

Even if the reaper made you late

Challenge him for you, and if I find him

Follow down the corridor behind him

Raging with the insults I would hurl

This was not an ordinary girl!

Time has dragged the sentiment from in me

Fear of losing you will underpin me

So in lieu of others in the past then

Let this be my Valentine at last then

Up the wooden hills again and gladly

Let them know we didn't do too badly

When we went from darkness into light

Ours was not an ordinary flight

You are not an ordinary dove

Ours is not an ordinary love.


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