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Poem for today by Connaire Kensit

Arts Richmond

Online - 08 June 2020

Poem for today by Connaire Kensit

The Hat on the Hook

On a hook in our hall there hangs a hat that no one ever wears.

I see it but hardly notice it each day as I come downstairs.

I ought to free up that hook in the hall for a visitor to hang their hat,

But somehow, after eighteen years, I've never got around to that.


I should take that hat from off that hook and give it to a charity shop, 

Or perhaps to an amateur drama group to use as a theatre prop;

I ought to find it a worthy home, for someone else to use

Who'll know that it must have been someone's once, but never wonder whose.


My mother's Dundee Christmas cake was our family's yearly pride;

She'd baked the cake and put it in a tin two days before she died; 

She'd stored it then on a cool cellar shelf, where I found it the following spring—

A mass of fungus past repair, a desolate, wasted thing.


But her hat was unharmed on the hook in the hall.  It's hanging there still today.

No one's found it a worthy home and no one's thrown it away.

Would any of you kind ladies here have a use for a neat straw hat? 

It's a retro style from an earlier age, but don't be put off by that.


One can't keep all of one's souvenirs left over from an earlier life—

Our paddling pool, Fred's baby teeth, that odd-shaped butter knife—

I ought to free up that hook in the hall for a visitor's coat or hat,

But somehow after all these years I've not got around to that. 


Connaire Kensit,  2012


Connaire Kensit, born 1940, is a retired lecturer in linguistic science.  He has translated into English verse poems from various languages, as well as writing his own, one of which is given here.  He lives in Putney and is convenor of Putney Verse Workshop, a group founded in 2010.

The Hat on the Hook

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