The Journeyman Joiner
Dad’s overalls were a faded shade of denim blue,
held together, over his shoulders, by a silver clasp.
He kept a rectangular pencil behind one ear
and a Player’s cigarette behind the other.
Frank would eat his sandwich at a workshop bench.
For a journeyman joiner, it was catch as catch can,
and he was proud to be a working man.
Frank’s tools were scattered across the shop
and they seldom saw the sawdusty bottom of his bag,
but dad fashioned order, out of this chaos,
he didn't see this mayhem as a problem or a snag.
“Why would I waste my time tidying up?
Here! Go boil a kettle and fill me this cup!”
Frank liked to focus on the task in hand.
His woodworking projects were seldom planned.
He mentally visualised the end results.
A staircase, a wardrobe, a dining chair,
all built to order, or lovingly repaired.
A ciggy would burn at the end of his bench
or smoulder, benignly, behind his ear,
as he, laughingly, scoffed at the notion of harm,
“A nice little fire would keep me warm!”
Dad was a veteran from the Second World War,
who knew only too well, what true peril was like,
And he didn’t need a foreman to tell him his job.
Smoke went on rising, as molten ash fell on the floor,
the tinder dry shavings seemed ready to burn.
Yet, his jobs were all waiting, he had money to earn,
and Frank didn’t believe he had lessons to learn.