Standoff in Oxford between city’s cleansing team and the Pavement Poet
I was in Oxford yesterday, Cee had a physics taster day at one of the colleges which left me to occupy myself for the best part of the day. I guess Oxford is not the most difficult city to pass the time.
I was walking along Cornmarket Street when I sensed some tension. It was a standoff between a ‘pavement poet’ and the street cleansing unit. The men (it seemed they were all men) in HiVis jackets wanted to clean the street and in so doing the chalk poems of the artist. The poet was having none of it and in conversation with him, it was clear that he seemed to know the difference between obstructing a public highway and a pavement.
The people didn’t seem particularly bothered, well acquainted with street entertainers blocking sections of the pavement, though the boss of the street cleansing team did.
I shared a sandwich and a tea with the poet and in conversation, he told me that he had been travelling for 6 years. He had stopped for 5 weeks only to find that he preferred to travel than remain static and so he took again to the highways and byways.
The most I ever experienced such a life was aged 19 when I hitched hiked across Western Europe for 7 weeks. I found it adventurous but also exhausting.
Travelling as a lifestyle keeps you in the present as yesterday is certainly gone and tomorrow may never appear.
The poet’s worries are washed away as he sits here but for now, his poems are not.