Of all the bloody cheek. How the hell would they feel
if they pulled their bathroom curtains back and found
the bottom of their garden slumped in the river
and their new greenhouse leaning over like a tent
with half the pegs pulled out? ‘Don’t worry Mr Argot,’
they said, ‘your house is built on a plane of bedrock’
Apparently it’s the frost that’s done this that and the other
to the soil. I said that might be very true
but the frost isn’t going to put it back is it?
And the insurance won’t pay. Sent a bloke round
with a spirit-level, couldn’t have been here ten minutes
before he was up and off. I said listen, mate.
I used to be an engineer, I know subsidence
when I see it. He said it would have to look
like the Brighton bombing before they’d even think
of forking out. Don’t you worry, pal. I said.
if you have to pull me out of the rubble
with my tackle hanging out and half the world there watching
I’ll drag you through court so fast you won’t know
if you’re coming or going. I mean,
I don’t know why he bothered coming round
he didn’t know goose-shit from tapioca.
Only this morning the alarm clock had walked
to the edge of the drawers. It would have smashed
to smithereens but it went off and I woke up
and caught it. And I can’t put eggs down anywhere.
No, if this house hasn’t dropped a good two inches
this last eighteen months, my cock’s a kipper.
From The North No 4 (1988).