‘The Vernacularies’, by Brian Turner

Beware of strangers, the children are told.
In other words, just about everyone,
the message being it’s not worth
trying to find a saint
among the legions of sinners,
time’s too precious.

…………………………..Or so the old joker
who lives in the shack up the road reckons,
says he’s in the dark most of the time
though he’s working on it. ‘I’m
up with the vernacularies,’ he says
with a grin like a crack in schist.
‘I’m trying to shed some light
on the meaning of life.’

…………………………..My mother
would have approved of his manners,
said there’s a lesson for you
and reminded me of the need to
take people as you find them
and don’t go looking for the dark side
for that’s where the spiders are.

She could have said light and dark
go together like sweet and sour,
but she didn’t. You can put her
tact down to her age
and a certain intrinsic female poise
that goes with being a good woman
all her life, someone
unspectacularly spectacular.

You can make a pact
with someone like that
though there’s no guarantee
it will get you to heaven.

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