Laura watches a nice young man,
(perhaps newly demobbed),
a hiker with a pocket Keats in his knapsack,
as he gets off the bus.
'He walks alone by choice, thought Laura.
He walks with calm, manly decision,
while my day is a feeble woman's day,
following a domestic chalk line,
bound to the tyranny of my house
with its voices saying,
Clean me, polish me,
save me from the spider and the butterfly.
It is so long since I measured out a day for myself and said,
This is mine, I shall be alone.
Men are so much wiser, she thought,
striding deliberately off,
shaking the press of other people from them
and climbing the lonely hill.
One day soon, she promised herself vaguely
as the bus passed the first cottages of Wealding.'
from One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes