This is a poem I wrote for a competition, which I unexpectedly won last year. The brief was to write something about Doctor Who, and I chose to pay tribute to my first Doctor, the legendary Tom Baker…


He’s sat there in the tea shop:

An unravelled yarn
Of brooding eccentricity.
A long scarf seems to wrap,
Like a woollen, multi-coloured snake,
Around his body a dozen times;
Almost as un-tameable
As the forest of curls
Atop his time-weary head.
He contemplates a mug of tea,
Elbow on table, chin in hand,
His wide eyes two pools of deep blue.
He doesn’t seem to notice me staring –
His mind no doubt on other things.
I can almost hear ancient cogs
Grinding and whirring inside that mercurial mind:
Thoughts of distant worlds and falling stars,
And the spiralling chaos
Of the infinite vortex of Time.
I take a sip of my tea –
It’s cold now,
Perhaps as chilled as me,
To be in the presence of this man.
A man who acts as a mighty pillar
Holding up the foundations of the Universe,
Now sitting in a small café on a wet day,
In the corner of the Galaxy known as England.
As I contemplate my own cold tea,
I barely notice him hurrying to his feet.
It isn’t until he glides past
That I catch his eye –
And a rushing thrill seizes me in an instant.
As he leaves the tea shop,
His scarf flows behind him
Like the remains of a tattered, garish cloak,
And a second later the outside world has swallowed him up,
Leaving me alone with my cold tea,
The background noise of chatter, and bland muzak.
But he has left one trace of his existence,
For next to my mug sits a yellow jelly baby,
Stealthily deposited for my delectation.
“Thank you,” I say, mostly to myself,
Snatching up and devouring the tasty sweet,
Unable to suppress a wide smile.
“Thank you, Doctor…”

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