Jack

Jack worked in a basement

on Dale street

6 days a week

no natural light

nine hours a day.

Cutting the finest cloth

for  those who could afford it.

 

A clever man confined.

 

In 1941 he was bundled

off to Burma in tears

torn from two kids

clutching Kipling’s ‘If ‘.

Close.

A gift from his wife

hand written and wrapped

in sellotape.

 

There was no escape.

 

Imagine that.

36 years old.

A cloth capped cloth cutter

with a wife and two kids

shipped off to the steaming

leech lined jungles of Burma

to kill Japanese peasants.

 

He came home in 46

kids grown.

And brought with him a quietness

that wasn’t there before and

a st st st u u utter that made him reluctant

to u u t t ter very much at all.

 

He went back to his basement

on Dale Street and on his one day off a week

he would rise with the birds

and cycle from the city

to Castleton or Edale

and scale

Mam Tor or Kinda.

Tiredness never hindered

him.

He had rage within

but when he flew from that cage

he sang.

 

“I’m a rambler I’m a rambler from Manchester way

I get all my pleasure the hard moorland way

I may be a wage slave on Monday

But I am a free man on Sunday.”

 

The years rolled on and Grandkids came

he even managed a trip to Spain.

Then,

when he couldn’t climb those basement steps

they called it a day

sent him on his way

with a clock.

 

Tick tock

 

50 years

6 days a week

51 weeks a year

9 hours a day

and they sent him on his way with of clock.

 

Tick tock .

 

He played bowls in Wythenshawe Park.

 

Tick tock

 

He fell and smashed his head

A slight stroke they said.

 

 

He stumbled through that final summer

knowing he’d not see another.

 

Tick tock.

 

He fell again on Yew Tree Lane

taking my Nana dancing.

He lay in the rain

till the ambulance ……………………………………came.

 

Tick——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

No tock.

 

15 million, five hundred and fifty two thousand

tick tocks

6 months

since he last stopped

at the top

of those basement steps

out of breath.

 

 

 

“I’m a rambler I’m a rambler from Manchester way

I get all my pleasure the hard moorland way

I may be a wage slave on Monday

But I am a free man on Sunday.”


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