Tom Kelly


Granda embroiders rope
around scaffolding that flies
across the shipyard and dock,
scurries along the side of the boat,
a rat down a gulley.

He was up at half-five
pushed on his boots with thick socks,
headed to a yard on the Tyne.
Thick socks legacy of WW1,
frost bite to blame.
I rarely heard him blame anything.
I will do that job for him.


Me jobs were not in-between university,
before working in a bank, lecturing,
writing the definitive novel.
The jobs were repetitive, lasted years
wore the arse out of me trousers
to a fine thread shining like silver.

These jobs stole my very soul
for twenty-odd years,
broke my spirit
as I saw myself in others
worn to a sliver of nothing.

Tom Kelly © 2020