The Working People

Entry by: writerSVTMLJBMPU

9th March 2017
A Consequence Of Elegance

One man nudged a corner of lumpen rock and with a quick, calculated strike broke the stone cleanly down the seam to reveal a perfect face. It was smooth and unblemished, like his.
Through instinctive repetition the wall built itself.
Again and again I saw it. I see it still.
The old brown boots with the yellow laces; and the bright blue eyes estimating, correcting, realising.
Three stout, three whiskey, into the car and back to the house; up the stairs and into bed before it hit him - bang, bang, bang.
I was reared with mortar dust, and when it finally settled, I blew away with it.
Stonemasons, Carpenters, Bricklayers, Thatchers; mad men, hard men, clever men, sad men.
Workers all their days.
And me? Me too - but my trade is destruction; I feed at the bottom of the river.
The work still exists in massive walls with coping stones like battalions of dorsal fins, all over the North.
There it is again in the collapsed roof of the cottage they seized from my Grandmother.
Still there in the beautiful table rotting in the rain on that western island where he lies.
These are just the men.
The women rode bicycles everywhere; made wedding cakes; taught children; scrimped and saved and laughed and cried.
Different tiers cooling on the steps of a staircase in a council house - each one a marvel.
Delicate roses spun from sugar lent a pink tint to my eyes.
One captured three live mice under an upturned frying pan on the stove - that's no lie.
One, on seeing tomatoes for the first time, thought them plums - and never ate them again.
They're always with me on the scaffold, or deep below the ground.
I am still a child to them so they poke through the veils - and chide, and laugh at me.
My work is not as fine as theirs, and never could be. The sparks I make are duller and dirtier, but they are sparks all the same; little flashes in the dark.
He made a small coffin for an infant son and lined it with white silk.
I came back drunk one night and she showed me the tiny scrap that she had kept for half a century - and more. She never wept, but I cried for her.
When he was dying, that boy came across the ward to show him the way; to ease the pain. It was the first and last time that I saw wonder in his eyes.
These are the workers who made my bones and I, in turn, made blood anew. The funny wave my boy had as a child is hers; the lashes that fletch the eyes of my youngest - his.
That is the work; and the word made flesh.
We laboured for everything we ever had.
But the had and the having are nothing.
I am scaled.
My armour is rust.
But a piece still tries to shine the way it was meant to.