Friday, 8 November 2013

The Wren / Swarf



The Wren 

What is in its beak
is bigger than
it.


Swarf 

The first time
with the adhesive
it got everywhere
its fragrant tar clagging
fingers, leaving taps
covered with thick smears
a grubby handprint on
the arm of the sofa,
on the newly painted wall.

So now we put on surgical-
looking gloves before we start, only
to find the glue has formed
a skin in its tub which must
be removed
like off old jam, the news
that his cousin has been
found
in t-shirt and pants sat
on the stairs half way down
it would seem, by his sister and brother-
in law who climbed over the fence
passed on
incidental, in a conversation
about the floor.

Shows me the notch he has
cut to fit round the
edge of the skirting,
folding and squeezing his hand into
the glove, almost tearing with his
thick fingers points out casually
that after his brother
from those two sisters three
of the five now remain.

Strange
that more didn’t come from the
huge and struggling clan
of thirteen Welshmen
from whom his Dad was chosen
to come to London and
get an education
but then again,
infancy alone took almost half.

Outside, rain
patters on the roof
they built over
the side passage
which keeps the tools and the paint
and the washing dry in winter.

We measure the boards, saw
them on the bench
lay them in the brown glue
like a ploughed field, patterned
by the trowels’ grooves.

We have never been farmers
mostly teachers, engineers, drivers
shopkeepers, milkmen, miners
and one politician
a peaceful man sent to prison.

The doors will need to be taken off
planed, re-hung, new holes
drilled in the hinges.

Once we made a recording
just Gran talking
we listened
but all we found was distant
muffled sound when we
took it down, wiped, from the shelf.

This we do.
The wood shaves off in curls that
float a little as they fall.

The low sawdust light shows them
for a second
transparent, glowing.

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Writtle/Castelló de la Plana, Essex/Valencia