For World Poetry Day, 21 March 2022
Was it full or empty
When they left it there
Between the roundabout and the bus-stop
Pushed against the side of the road
Where blackberries grew last September?
A Lidl Shopping trolley
They must’ve paid £1 for it
They? Two or three teenagers
Transporting a stash of cans to their den
in that “Site to be developed”
Behind that fence.
He? Possibly, he used it to transport
Something awkward, like a spare wheel
Pushing it in this trolley to where his car
Slumped, here lop-sided, on its squashed tyre.
She? Maybe they quarrelled
In the supermarket car-park
And she tried to walk home
With a week’s worth of food in this trolley
He chased after her, said sorry
Took her and the food home
Leaving the empty trolley here
A memento of their quarrel.
Three different possible stories:
Which one might they choose
In centuries future
When they unearth the wire and the wheels
That the brambles swallowed
And the people forgot.
In the timeline of the science of portability
After the era of baskets for carrying goods from local shops
And before the era of electronic delivery by drones
From AI controlled warehouses.
Behold… the shopping trolley
From those decades when world-wide supply chains
Delivered just-in-time to supermarket shelves
Glistening with plastic-wrapped food.
And the people used trolleys like this
To take their food from shelf to car-park.
For some of them, it was the only time in the week they walked.
Funny old way they lived back then, poor things.
Of course, it’s much better now.