I slowly woke to Patrick’s ashen face.
A muggy thunder stirs me from my nap
and taking in the God-forsaken space
I see I’m standing knee-deep in some crap
(as plumbers often do) but can’t see far.
Though catching Patrick’s eye, he turns his back.
“Now follow me, as I’m your Guiding Star.”
“Are you afraid?” “Well, no. You fear the worst.
Just pity makes me somewhat under par.”
Then finally we enter in the first
and foremost circle mostly hearing sighs
from people I knew well, but never cursed.
“Now what’s the deal with this? This just denies
my expectations, feelings, let alone
the thoughts I had about my clients lives.
The people here were nice! I want it known
that these ones paid on time, and more than asked!
Not like the stingy ones with hearts of stone.
And she was one who listened in the past,
and he was one who left me with a beer
and these ones found me extra work at last.
I do not understand why they are here.
If this is Hell, then where’s the justice Pat?”
He looked me in the eye. A smile appeared.
“I’m sure you’ve got a list as long as that,
of people that you’d love to put in Hell,
consign them, mark them “trash” from where you’re sat.
But learn and understand this lesson well:
The thoughts that some are wholly “bad” or “good”
are concepts that you really must dispel.
Just put the nasty ones in here? You would!
When really all of us are mixed up mess
of motivations, circumstance and “shoulds”.
So don’t be so surprised or get depressed.
Your clients will surprise you every time
And knowing this will save you much distress.
I pointed at a man: “Ah! Was his crime
to treat me with suspicion from the start?
He watched that “Cowboy Builders” all the time
He couldn’t see me honesty and heart.”
“Ah no. For watching way too much TV
is why he’s here. I know it’s hard. Now please
We have to reach that castle. Follow me.”
This castle was surrounded seven times
with walls that were the highest I had seen
and once inside I saw a well designed
and tended meadow, somehow feeling wrong.
We found a little alcove, hid behind
some shrubs where we could watch it all go on.
I saw some people who I do respect
and idols who I thought could do no wrong.
Old Patrick, staring hard at me, detects
the conflict in my feelings: “Let me hear
and help you work things out as you reflect.”
I ask if Pat’s in here (to make things clear)
He nods. “So what’s your crime? What are your sins?”
“But tell me why should I tell you my dear?”
“Look when your plumbing clients ask you in
by all means take an interest, BUT don’t pry!
You’re in their house! They’re other people’s things!”
I took his good advice, so while I try
to write this down I won’t be naming names
although it’s true and carefully described.
Then Patrick stands and shuffles down a lane.
I follow him and try to read the signs
towards the place where there’s a constant rain
and let’s just say that nothing really shines.
© Michael L Radcliffe 2013
canto > cantos > plumbing > poem > poetry