To the women of the Merrie England coffee houses, Huddersfield

Nice to see my friends Jim, Marie and Ben up from London this weekend. We all went to look at the state of Queensgate Market in Huddersfield. I think they were as impressed by the Merrie England cafe as they were about the paraboloid roof. I told them of Simon Armitage’s paean to the women of the cafe and promised to send it to them. I like the poem so much that I thought I’d post it here too.

To the women of the Merrie England coffee houses, Huddersfield

O women of the Merrie England Coffee Houses, Huddersfield,
when I break sweat just thinking about hard work, I think about you.
Nowhere to hide behind that counter, nowhere to shirk.
I’m watching you right now bumping and grinding hip to hip,
I’m noting your scrubbed, pink hands in the cabinet of fancy cakes,
loose and quick among the lemon meringues and cream puffs
and custard tarts, darting and brushing like carp in a glass tank.