Valhalla on my Round
by Jon Tait
I’ve seen them
struggling to get a round up in the fitting,
the old boys with white hair,
odd bits of uniform; a blue wool V-neck
issued in the 90s,
a tie, worn and threadbare as their dreams,
as they sink under trays of mail,
shrinking as another grey bag of parcels
thumps at their feet,
and you give them a chuck in
to help them out, but they’re shrinking,
into loose skin beaten as leather by
wind and rain, and a splash of Old Spice.
They’ve still got dignity but they’re hoping
for redundancy, a way off the walks,
to plant some heather in their boots in the yard,
and they tell you of the old days with a twinkle
in their sad blue eyes –
We used to get back for second delivery
at 10.30 and be home for 12!
then sigh, deflated as an emptied sack,
and I tell them
Valhalla is on my round:
it doesn’t matter, it’s there,
I’ve seen it etched on wood behind a window,
Valhalla is on my round.
It’s where old postmen go to die.