Ruth Aylett, ‘Postcard from the 1880s’

What’ll you be like that read this card?
All gentry types, with soft words
and no ability to bend a length of wood?
Riders in the carts, not the ones
that build them? My own son
off to London, leaving our open
Essex distances for the noisy town,
its chaotic ways; our ‘everyone
knows everyone’ for a mess
of conniving strangers: no wonder
he’s a peeler. Never a good hand
on the long saw, and much too fond
of is own voice. Will you be like him,
gone to the dogs when it comes
to fitting spokes in wheels, making
and mending? Or will you still be
working men, but better recognised
getting the credit for making the world run?
It’s all one to me. There’s work to be done.

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