The flies were buzzing
In the thick June air
And the Head of Sales was twenty miles
His wife had stopped for petrol
And something cold to drink.
The Head of Sales lay back in his seat
Trying not to think.
Outside, by the old market cross
There stood three boys.
Three boys that looked too young for girls
Too old for toys.
And they stood lollylagging
As solemn as only boys that age
Can ever be.
They didn’t look towards the car—
They were alone.
The Head of Sales had the kind of stare
That turns to stone
The man on the up and up
And the man on the down and down.
Grown men went cold all over
At his frown.
But the things that terrify grown men
Don’t bother boys.
They are too very worldly
To be worldly-wise.
They spoke about school and soccer—
The abiding things.
The sickest stories that they knew
And the Lord of the Rings—
The colour of blood inside the vein,
Whether flies can feel
And whether dying inside your dream
Is dying for real.
The Head of Sales burned to step outside
Of his metal box
To unlive a thousand meetings
And forget about stocks—
Forget about shares and selling points
And the taste of power
And lollylag under the useless sun
For a useless hour.
He wanted to bang on the window and yell
“Hey! Look at me!
I knew a whole lot less than you
And I’m forty-three—
“I lost the wisdom of ignorance
Meeting my guidance counsellor
“And telling my first professional lie.
It’s true, it seems—
You really do die in real life
If you die in your dreams.”
But his wife was walking back to the car
And the group of boys
Fell silent as she passed them by.
Outside, the flies
Exulted in the balmy air
Feckless and free
Like gods for a summer evening’s