John Ashbery Visits Lidl 

John Ashbery Visits Lidl

Everyone loved what they saw.
The rough displays, the mitre makers
The marigolds and the clothes
The persimmon velvet curtains
The garlic tea cloths
The passionate biscuits
The Slavonic chocolate
The wines from Cricklewood and Westphalia

The whole family are keenly interested
They arrive in droves.

The first year was like icing
The man with the red hat
The girls protected by gold wire
The music that never ceased.
Now they swear by tennis balls
the unknowable crispbreads, the meats in vacuum packs.

Sometimes they come because their cars do
Sometimes they are profligate
Sometimes they are radiant
Sometimes they shop because there is little else to do
Mostly though it’s pedantic Cindy without brio or élan.

The family they just want to save money
They always do
They have this furious passion.

They buy onions
They buy the weirdly branded tins,
the fold-up beds, the spread-on chocolate,
the spanners.

Clearly the song will have to wait
amongst all this great saving
How brave they are
buying marigolds when they don’t need to.

In the queue there he is but no one recognises him
why would they, the joker,
self-portrait in his trolley,
his New York face peering out of that so realistic convex mirror.

Peter Finch
Illustration Nick Victor

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