People Watching

Drawing: A slice of chocolate cake, and a large round mug. Caption reads: “Chocolate cake and a coffee.
People Watching poem by Iris Carden

The shopping centre was crowded.
A wall of noise overwhelmed me.
It’s the nature of big places like that.
They’re just too people-y.

So I sought the quiet, 
of a cute little coffee shop.
With chocolate cake and a coffee, 
I waited for the anxiety to stop.

In this quiet place, 
where things were not so loud,
I saw individual people,
not just an anonymous crowd.

A child in a sports uniform,
having arvo tea with his Dad,
was glowing and animated,
telling about the game he had.

In the corner two advanced-aged teens
were giggling about days long before
with American soldiers based here
while “our boys” were off fighting a war.

On the other side of the room,
a woman seemed set for the duration,
as if belting away on her laptop 
would save the life of a nation.

As the kid told how he scored that goal,
his voice was an excited squeak.
The Dad was quiet, attentively,
listening to his child speak.

The girls in the corner had exciting jobs
they hadn’t been allowed to before,
and were enjoying dances most nights.
Who said nobody wins in a war?

Laptop woman had finished her coffee
and asked for another brew.
Whatever she was frantically writing,
she was determined to power on  through.

The Dad said he was proud of the kid
for doing his best at the game.
Even if the kid’s team had lost,
he’d still be proud, all the same.

The former teens were on ration books,
and drawing fake seams on their legs.
Oh the wonders they used to bake
despite the shortage of flour and eggs.

While guzzling coffee, computer woman,
continued typing for Australia,
but slammed the laptop in disgust,
when the battery finally failed her.

And then my coffee was all gone,
bill paid, plate taken away.
It was time to face the noisy crowd,
and go once more into the fray.

While you’re here…

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


  1. What a lovely visit to the cafe, Iris! thank you for taking us along. 💞💞💞 You made it very easy to see and here the other patrons…and I’m with you…it frequently is too people-y out there.

    Liked by 1 person

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