Tom Kelly


‘Nye Bevan Dies’

(Wednesday 6th July, 1960)


Three words

made dad cry.

I did not understand,

“Nye dead,”

the reason for his tears.


He had passion,

came from Wales,

spoke for the working classes,

dad said.


Dad read ‘The Herald,’

canvassed for The Labour Party:

Nye was a saviour-

“with feet of clay,”

Tony Benn said.


No Laughing Matter


Living next to dread,

close to the lip

of everything but food.


Standing on corners

pushed by police,

poor whites

-violence caged.


1930’s hard;

then a wild practical joke,

you’re a prisoner of war,

no laughing matter.


You were never surprised

what life threw at you,

quality always poor.


Dad in the Rain


1933:

I’m talking to you,

rain sheeting down.


At the end of an alley,

harsh cough rattles,

phlegm spreads.


Grasping his coat,

fingers chain the collar,

cold barb-wires your face.


Words dry up

in the rain.



Tom Kelly © 2010


Breathed It Everyday


Aa back number,

ye wor born

aa lossa,

you never said,

breathed it every day.


You were brayed

soon as look at you,

love faraway as the moon

you never said,

breathed it every day.


I borrow your voice,

breathe you,

hear you, see you,

breathe it every day.


Hunga, Hunga


everyday’s blessed

with nothing.


Hunga, hunga,

never escapes,

my dad’s chant.


Hunga, hunga,

each bugger’s face

lined with want.


Hunga, hunga

hangs in the air:

hunger pains.



Tom Kelly © 2010