Work Horses

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The clanking compound of the brewery

– where Dad did casual shifts

when building work was scarce –

is buried now beneath the floors

of a multi-storey car park

and chat that drifts across

from cappuccino pavements.


Born to a scant inheritance

of rushy Sligo acres, my dad was bred

like his brothers to follow the work,

sending remittances home

from London, Reading and Philadelphia –

for worklessness

would have been defining shame.


And somewhere in the hinterland

of just-remembered childhood

I am watching a drayman

as he guides heraldic horses

through a time-thinned stream of traffic.

Their sinews barely tensed,

they go unfussed about their business.


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M.C. Newberry

Thu 8th Apr 2021 11:24

The Irish affinity with horses is surely hereditary and ongoing. The
sight of dray horses was a regular feature of big city streets in
other times and this happily still lingers on in reduced numbers.
No one minded slowing down in a busy street when their majestic
forms plodded into view, ornately burnished and lovingly brushed
to provide visual delight. Work horses that made the word "work"
something both proud and pleasing to witness.

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