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Thursday, 8 October 2015


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I take my spade
to dig the ground,
to graft the roots,
to ladle the soil,
to shovel the dung
to slice the turf
to tool God’s earth
to break up the clods
to cultivate the land
to poke
to prod
to turn over the clay
to earn my pittance
each working day.
But one other use it has
when I want to skive a bit,
as soon as the boss goes away,
I’ll lean on it.


In the gloom of the grey, stone cottage
he observes the naked candle flame
burning away, prone to the faintest breeze,
liable to a quick, wick snuff-out sneeze.
He needed cover to protect the light,
to avoid the getting-up and relighting chore,
He sat awhile and pondered hard
then headed out the kitchen door.
He looked at his donkey and had a thought,
his old, knackered ass on its backside,
he looked at the head, what an image it made,
a blueprint skull for a lantern shade.
How the donkey died is another tale,
but its spirit lives on in a different guise
now the cottage lighting is a bit more stable
with his hee-haw lantern on the bedside table.

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