Pit wheel turns

Gazing into the flames she sees the pictures that are there
Rocking slowly rhythmically in her old rocking chair.
Memories start to dance and flicker within the flames .
There amongst the burning coals she sees the faces and their names
Like a fiery cine film she sees the thriving old pit town
The sound of the mines whistle as the cage go up and down.
As it summons men to go underground and to leave their wives
While the pit wheel goes on turning like the seasons of their lives.
Alun and violet she smiles even their names seem to fit.
Black diamonds, coal face, blue scars, black lined eyes all delivered by the pit
He was a miner -a grafter -a good man and he was her’s.
Broad strong shoulders, dark hair blue eyes, with a wink and a whistle–warmer than the warmest furs.
She had worked in the post office and soon she was his girl.
They married in the chapel. Reception in the miners club. He had won himself a pearl
lads from the pit singing together the wives brought food and drink
they were a community, a family, the pit and shared hardships forming the link
They had saved and bought their cottage in the village, solid stone and thatch

Sash windows–sweet smell of rosemary and a vegetable patch
white sink by the garden gate smelling of rosemary.
He dug for coal all week and potatoes on a Sunday happy that it should thus be.
He’d take her to the club on a Saturday night. Wearing dresses she had made
The pit wheel turned, the miners mined and earned what they were paid.
She baked Welsh cakes and plate pies and watched as he taught the kid next door
how to fix his bike. Make a cart–and so very much more
He would have been a good dad but it was not to be,
so it was just the two of them–a small sad tragedy.
Caravan holidays-a small car visits to see her sister in the city. Life moves on.
The pit wheel stops–and suddenly all of it is all gone
A deathly silence–no whistle–no club and then, no post office too
She worries he will be lost. What is there for him to do
He still winks and whistles he fixes cars does the odd jobs he can find
She is still his girl they have each other, in that nature has been kind
The seasons turn and t
hey grow older, people move away–with no reason to stay.
The town seems to be smaller their lives grow smaller too
Same grey hair same blue eyes milky now with age, and the work scars are still blue.
She rocks as she cries silent tears watching–reruns of their beautiful life.
A successful combination–a loving husband and a loving wife
She thinks she’s hears a pit wheel turn the memory make her cry
She cries for him, h
e has just gone through the door no wink no kiss goodbye
He has turned off the light–forgetting she was sitting there
forgetting who she is and who they are and suddenly life is so unfair
She rocks closes her eyes–knowing she will remember for the pair

Raven Wordsmith 🖤

Show quoted text

Little Black Bird

Little black bird.

She was small tiny in fact.

She looked different.

So she was not one of them she didn’t belong. Hatched in the wrong nest.

The king of the crows had said her mother had been a visitor laying her egg in a nest in the huge yew tree here in the churchyard leaving it to be hatched by one of the kings mates.

Little bird had emerged small scrawny and different she didn’t fit.

The only thing about her that was like the crows she lived with was her colour.

She was blacker than the night.

Every day she was reminded that she wasn’t like them smaller not good enough she lived there but she didn’t belong there. But no one seemed to know who her real mother was or anything about her so that was that she had no place else maybe one day her mother would return and they would fly away together.

Now the king of the crows was big and mean she had learned not to upset him she would dodge the sharp elbow of his mighty wing his shrill caw and she had many scars from his sharp beak any chance he got he would jeer at her she had tried in the beginning to please him thinking that one day he may accept her. But that was not to be he didn’t want her in his flock but he wouldn’t allow her to leave. Still she never gave up hoping.

She helped where ever she could in spring she would collect straw hair and anything else to help build new nests sometimes a scrap of wool caught on the barbed wire by the farm gate.

That was as far as she had ever flown.

The wheel of the year turned.

She would sit on the gate and gaze across the fields she watched the seasons change the lambs grow into sheep, the trees and hawthorn’s bud and flower and the leaves fall. She wondered what was beyond the green fields one day she would be brave enough to find out.

For now she was content to live in the tall yew tree she would wait until everyone had eaten before she dared to look for what scraps were left she survived by living and blending into the shadows.

It was spring the morning sun was warm on her black feathers she had been busy building her new nest she had moved higher up the tree she didn’t seem to fit in the cozy small nest she had built last spring new eggs began hatched young were born and raised their gathering grew but not her eggs the king would not allow it he would fly into a rage smash her eggs kill her young tiny and vulnerable before eyes they didn’t stand a chance. No one in the gathering dared to challenge him for he was the king is word was law. Was she ever to be free?

.

Then one warm summers evening as she glided alone on a warm summer breeze she was startled by a whoosh of wind as a beautiful huge black bird flew past her.

She watched as he darted and glided this way and that his call was different louder deeper than the kings and his feathers were darker she followed him as he landed stealthy on an old oak tree on the other side of the farm gate..

He tilted his head looking at her

‘Where do you come from?’ she asked.

‘Across the farm beyond the mountains far from here.’ he said preening himself

The sun shone as they spoke of other worlds green valleys and oceans and the little birds heart fluttered.

‘Could I go to this place?’ she asked

The beautiful bird cawed and laughed. He tilted his head his eyes were brown and in them she saw a reflection looking back at her.

She let out a caw, louder and braver than she dared to in the church yard.

It sounded just like the big black bird before her.

‘Yes’ he said seeing the surprise on her face.

‘You can go anywhere, you are a Raven we are strong and brave warriors of our sky’s ’

‘Me a Raven?’ she laughed ‘‘yes you.’

Why are you nesting with the crows their king is not a good being. His heart is blacker than his feathers.

She nodded for she knew more than anyone this to be true.

‘But I don’t know where I truly belong’ she answered bowing her head.

‘Fly from here fly south look for the mountains and green valley’s there are others like us you belong anywhere you choose to nest.

‘Do not be afraid any longer you are brave and strong remember you are a warrior now if you doubt this look into the river at your reflection and remember me remember this day.’

She flew back to the woods cawing out thanks to the Black Raven.

The king crow was getting old now his eyes were failing and suddenly she realised he wasn’t bigger or stronger than she she looked at him with new eyes and the fear she had felt for all those years roosting in the yew tree began to leave her.

She puffed up her chest and cawed loudly as she flew down to the place by the river where her smashed eggs and young were buried.

She looked at her reflection.

I am a warrior she whispered a Raven.

Her heart banged in her Raven chest she felt a new strength she was no longer afraid lo leave.

in this small woodland that had been her home since she had hatched in the wrong nest.

Tomorrow was a new day a new beginning a new life.

She ruffled her feathers looked up at the ink black sky and the dark new moon a million stars twinkled above her and she slept.

The next morning the sun came up she drank from the stream and caught sight of her reflection again in the water a raven warrior with new determined look in her eye.

She was no longer the tiny bird the outcast who had taken so many beatings.

.

She cawed loudly. ‘Goodbye forest of my youth.’

Goodbye gentle winding stream and ancient yew tree f my ancestors thank you for my shelter and quenching my thirst.

She heard King caw a cruel laugh behind her.

‘Little bird’ he jeered. ‘Who do you think you are?’ ‘Where do you think you are going?’

‘I am Raven a warrior I am not your little bird I am mighty brave and strong that is who I am. Today I shall fly and find my own path far from here.’

The kings eyes grew dark flashing anger ‘You dare speak back to your king you defy my orders?’

‘You would choose solitude and loneliness this is your place.’

The other crows crowded and gathered around waiting in hushed silence for her to answer no one ever left this gathering no one ever left or defied the king.

Raven puffed out her chest and spread out her wings ‘I am not your little bird. I choose freedom’ there was a gasp from all who gathered as Raven circled for the last time above the small woodland that had been her roost.

The warm winds carried her south. Warm sun shone on her feathers and hope beat a drum inside her brave Raven heart.

She was free.to find her place in the world.

Raven Wordsmith 🖤

You taught me well

You taught me well.
By example.
Of exactly what not to be
A racist, violent alcoholic
Oh Dad you taught me well you see
You taught me to have work ethic.
By staying in the pub.
You made our lives so miserable
Just because you could.
Oh yes you taught me well.

I watched you get arrested for fighting in the street.
You’d throw your dinner up the wall.
Too pissed to even eat.
I watched you steal from mammy’s purse.
She’d cleaned houses so we could live
But you’d go off drinking down the pub.
And somehow she would forgive.
Not me.
You taught me well.

Going to school step over you asleep on the floor.
Choking coughing on vomit.
I’d prop your head in a washing up bowl
Go to school wondering if you’d die.
Not knowing if you’d be there when I got home I’d stand and wave you goodbye.
Oh yes dad you taught me well.

You cared about things not people.
Beer, homebrew, pubs, the bookies and guns
Your word was law or I’d regret it.
I’d tell you I hate you then run.
Oh yes you taught me well.

There were two sides to you.
The monster who could reduce me to a frightened mess.
I could count on my fingers the good times.
When you’d swear you’d give up the ale.
And although I wanted to believe I never quite did, I have to confess
You see you taught me well.

I wasn’t like the other kids.
I never really fit.
Hair you’d cut all shapes with pinking shears.
Coat that didn’t fit.
Your dad’s just a piss head.
Yes I knew they were right.
Normal I thought so I’d seen this time and time

Sit alone on the bus and in the playground
Avoid another fight.
Yes you taught me well.

My mammy should have left you.
But instead she stayed.
Maybe too tired, sick or worn out.
Our had she grown used to your alcoholic ways?
I’d go sitting in a friend’s house,
But you’d come and look for me.
Shouting swearing until I came home.
No chance of escape for me.
Yes you taught me well.

So I’d sit and hide in libraries.
Found a way to escape.
Terry Pratchett and Lewis Carroll
Helped me to my thoughts reshape.
Took me to other worlds
Far far away from home.
Where you couldn’t reach me.
And in these stories I would roam.
The stories they taught me well.

You tortured my poor mammy.
Until her dying day.
Massive heart attack took her from me.
As you’d argued pissed as every other day.
I walked away from you that day.
With anger in my heart.
I couldn’t help but wish you’d had the courage to live apart.
The damage that you caused
like Holocaustic ripples on the water.
But I’m stronger – a good mammy, friend and wife,
I’m not just an alcoholic’s daughter.

Dad you taught me well

Raven & the Lighthouse

Blacker and darker than night the lone Raven lived in the shadows.
Built her home in the cracks and crevices of the rocks and cliffs
She liked it there it was safe.
She had hatched her young there
Sheltered them away from predators
Fiercely protecting them with a shrill sharp caw.
Guarding her nest with the courage of an eagle.
She taught her young well.
As she watched them leave the nest as they flew confidant and solo her dark Raven heart fluttered and swelled with pride.
She tilted her head as magically she watched as their dark raven feathers shimmer almost iridescently in the bright sunlight
She cawed and preened herself
And if Ravens could smile she would have.
As her off spring strutted transformed into beautiful peacocks in the lush Green Meadows of the mainland
She circled high above never far away keeping one eye on her beautiful creations.
Always flying back to what she knew
The dark protection of the craggy cliffs and rocks
Then one evening on her journey home as she soared on a warm breeze sea spray splashing below as she prepared to land.
There before her was a bright light.
She circled again.
Light flooded the cliffs and craggy rocks. She cawed a loud warning.
It didn’t move. Things looked so very different in the light.
She cawed again. No response.
There it stood tall grounded and strong and silent
A lighthouse
She felt her heart beat faster.
She was tired now she needed to land.
The lighthouse seemed to beckon the warm glow of light seemed to promise safety. Dare she move away from the rocks..
She circled one last time before noisily but cautiously landing safely by the lighthouse door

Raven Wordsmith 🖤