written and posted by members of Lancashire Dead Good Poets' Society

Tuesday, 26 January 2016


  My take on "Labour " - and not the political party ,which in my mind has no resemblance to the true meaning of the word.
  Anyway my Grandfather was a dockside labourer...a 'docker' who loaded and unloaded the boats that plied between Aberdeen and Orkney. A hard physical job after the war. No ' ro-ro ' ferry then. No,it was a job that relied on man power, pulleys, cranes, derricks - and the like. Goods, livestock, vehicles were manhandled to and from the boats. Labour meant labour ! Nowadays we refer to such as ' manual work' - but this was much more than that...it meant back troubles, toil, calloused hands...a weariness after work that gave little time for leisure !
   When at college we counted calories in reference to sedentary workers and labourers. So the latter required 3,500 Cals plus per day and the former 2,500 ! A man on a building site was referred to as a labourer, a man digging ditches, a person laboured in the fields, a millworker laboured at the loom. It meant demanding, lengthy , hard work for the body, toiling,  requiring also concentration as regards safety and wellbeing.
   A woman when she is about to give birth 'goes into labour'. That's exactly it ! For that is a physically demanding , exerting time for her . Another 'proper' use of the word !
    So today's" Labour Party" don't really deserve that name, and should be called upon to rename themselves once and for all time !
   Today's poem was written in August 2014 after a visit to Durham Cathedral.

Durham Cathedral

 Heavenward reaching columns
Searching for an unseen God.
Built on a foundation of faith,
By men of ardent beliefs.      
         Into perpetuity this edifice reaches,
       With arches that seem to support 
Heaven itself !

These faithful tradesmen in stone
Would never have known        
The impact of their labours .    
                 Other meeker structures may tumble in time
      But this glory in stone will withstand
Time itself !

Living on, seeking a higher being,
                   A further meaning to its longevity and strength.
                        Admired, awed - by men of all creeds and beliefs.
             For there is no one religion in this building,
But an admiration by mankind     
     Of the labour, the skill and the artistry
Of men long departed.                

Thank You for reading... Kath


Christo said...

Thanks very much for this, Kath - I was "warned off" committing my life to manual labour mainly by my uncle (my father died when I was seven) who had begun his working life in the Jarrow shipyards, but escaped by practising and practising the violin, the clarinet and the saxophone to become a Big Band dance band musician. He said the best route out of poverty was via the library and the rehearsal room too, and, for me, he was absolutely right.
I'm not at all religiously observant in the regular Christian sense, but. like you visit great churches and cathedrals to wonder at the commitment to monumental greatness our forebears have shown - Durham is one of the best along with King's College Chapel in Cambridge and York Minster.