The older ones have gone to school

My breakfast’s on the plate

But I can’t  leave the window pane

I might be just too late

I’ve heard the clatter down the street

I know they’re creeping near

The team of gruff voiced burly men

Who keep our dustbins clear

And I must watch and see them clang

The dustbins on the road

And stand in pairs to heave up high

The double handled load

Yes,  there they come the lorry growls

And grinds in bottom gear

The dustman knees the garden gate

As, high up by his ear

Firmly he balances the bin

Head tilted to one side

The great mouth of the rubbish cart

Is yawning very wide

To me the mouth looks like a beast’s

A dragon’s hungry jaws

That snap the refuse out of sight

Behind those sliding doors

The lorry-dragon every day

Is in a ravenous mood

And cardboard boxes, bottles, jars

Are all part of his food

He gobbles up old magazines

Saucepans and broken jugs

Pieces of red linoleum

And dirty, tufted rugs

He crunches shattered pictures

Old bicycles and tyres

A bird-cage with its seed-tray

Its bell and rust wires

And fractured clocks and mirrors

A rocking-chair and broom

A mattress and an iron bed

Where does he find the room?

And like dragon sated

His great maw crammed quite tight

He lifts his head and swallows

His breakfast out of sight

What would the careless people

Who clutter up the street

Do without hungry dragons

To keep our houses neat?

(Written by Gregory Harrison)


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