Friday, 19 August 2016

And We Were Kings

Each Autumn, the local farmers would look for ‘potato gatherers’ to gather the ‘praties’ as we called them. Imagine a cold Autumn dawn, the sharp frost broken by the early sun and the tractor as it ‘ raped ’ the field.
The most empowering sensation, was not the toil and the tedium of back-breaking work,  but the clutch of the 10s 0d shilling note you were paid as you raced home with the ‘Queens’ ten-shillings.

We ate that day with grubby hands
Silken- floured farls straight from the griddle
The earth our table, the sky our roof
The farmer’s wife rough-red and rude

Poured liquid from a billy can
Golden tea fired our belly and strengthened our spine
As we stooped and skimmed and shook the soil
from those golden nuggets
Raped in  the virgin furrow

At close of day we bumped along
Tired on the tail end of the tractor trailer
Grasping the crumpled, brown, ten-shilling note
And raced home with field laid bare
Nay not a backward glance
And we were kings for many a day

1 comment:

  1. I was going to read this to Deb - she's not heard any of your poems yet. Just reading it through to myself has brought tears rolling down my face and onto my shirt.

    No chance I'll be able to get through it reading it aloud to her. This from a stupid Englishman too!

    You've got a rare talent, Merv - make damn sure you use it to the full. If there's anything I can do to help, just ask.