I climbed up a very tall thin ladder into scaffolding
Ostensibly I was there to approve the repairs
with my builders,
but actually I was there
so that I could say I had been there;
that I was still nimble enough to climb a ladder;
steady enough not to fall;
And did I enjoy the view?
I chatted nonchalantly about
the slipped slates;
all the while
concentrating hard on not looking at the view.
I was girding myself for the climb down.
So much harder to manage
without the giddy impulse
that had driven me up there;
the momentary, foolish desire not to be seen as a sofa...
'He looked at her amiably, as though she were a nice sofa.
That must be the penalty of the grey hairs,
the tired shadows under the eyes,
that must be the beginning of getting old.
She had noticed it.
Young men looked at you as though you were a nice sofa,
an article of furniture which they would
never be desirous of acquiring.
The signal flags were hauled down,
the lights went out,
all commerce between the sexes to cease forthwith.'
One FIne Day by Mollie Panter-Downes