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