Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Man from Middlesbrough

Dear Reader,

My daughter, Jessica, who is my blog advisor, has discussed with me the format for this poetry blog, and has suggested the following changes.  The first change is that I will write a thought or two at the beginning of the blog and then write the poem.  A little of the poem's message is lost if, straight away you read "the muse" for the week.   The second change is that I will no longer explain the poem in any detail. Since my poems are very understandable I feel it is unnecessary to, I suppose, bore you, explaining what is easily understood.  Do let me know whether you think these changes are an improvement.

A thought this week.

I have been thinking about all the parents who have said goodbye to their student children, perhaps for the first time away from home, and how sad some of these parents must be.  Their children's bedrooms forlorn and void, and a new and unwanted silence in the house.  If your son or daughter was a great friend, as well as being your child, your loss is unaccountable, your grief terrible.  My thoughts are with you, all you empty nesters, and may your days be filled with new and good things.

After I heard that the shipyard in Middlesbrough had closed  I wrote this poem:

The Man from Middlesbrough

ordered another cup of tea,
lit another cigarette.

He held his head
in his history-stained hands,
nicotine fingers clutching
tufts of dirty grey hair.
He stared, not-seeing, at
the plastic tablecloth,
his mind numb.

His father, his grandfather,
worked in this shipyard
watched ships lovingly grow
from steel plates to proud traders,
built to sail from the Tees estuary,
into the North Sea
and the world's great oceans.

In his head the man heard the noise,
music to him, of drag chains,
when a ship pushed along
the greasy slipway, slid into the sea.
And the man thought of his mates,
of shared experiences from schooldays,
first girlfriends, first kisses,
walks in the Cleveland hills.
And he thought of the old canteen,
warm with steam from the tea urn,
from brotherhood.

The man wiped his eyes
with the back of his hand,
ordered another cup of tea,
lit another cigarette.


Very best wishes, Patricia

1 comment:

Jessica D said...

Thanks for your encouragement, being an empty nester myself. Talking to a friend recently she suggested you have to 'reinvent yourself' and that feels positive and stirs my somewhat dormant creativity.