The Volunteer


In this village museum's mysterious room

When your eyes get used to the dark and the gloom

There's rotted and rusted old artifacts

And the rain-soaked victims of Beeching's axe

There are Men and machines from both world wars

And Long dead surfers with coffin-lid boards

Dismembered bones from the shadows loom

A skeletal saint, still in it's tomb

There's a welcome, of sorts, for you seekers of truth

From the ancient custodian, dark and aloof

You're noted and counted, allowed then to crawl

From pillar to post round interpretive walls,

Like IKEA arranged, to confound and confuse

To baffle, bewilder, designed so you loose

Any sense of direction - 

“I wonder why that

Funny man's got a candle stuck on his hat?”

“Why there is a case full of dusty old stones

And enormous pictures of sad old dead bones?”

Then the children are racing around

Full of glee

Looking for letters - but no-one can see -

The ‘D’  -Nor me !

And now here is a loudly educating mummy

With two little girls in tow

She’s now holding forth on the tailor’s dummy

There’s nothing that she doesn’t know!

She knows all about the railway trains

And to her two little mites she loudly explains

How Dr. Beeching wielded his axe

And lot of other interesting facts

Down in the lobby is a whining spaniel

There’s nothing re. dogs in the volunteers’ manual

So I hope they don’t bring it up here up the stairs

That would be more disturbance than I could bear.

On the other hand …. 

Although here one would think

Is disabled heaven … 

Little thought’s given to the ‘bending impaired’

Who may have been able to manage the stairs

But many ancient delights are displayed far too low

Where our old backs won’t go

So we’ll never know

What’s there…

And for those like me, that are aged of sight

It's not so easy to see, when there isn't much light

And what light there is, shines right in your face

So it’s hard to imagine what lies in the space


Ah! now here’s a display to gladden our hearts!

Those of us who admit to being crusty old farts

The beach at Perran when we were young

When the Beach Boys were boys, and their songs were sung

And our children were gleams in their fathers’ eyes

And the future was up there - up in the skies

And it’s taken a lifetime to realise

We won’t live for ever

Everyone dies …….

Which is a good thing

Because otherwise

There wouldn’t be any point in the museum .

© nigel hallworth 2021