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The wall menders
I see him now as a man:
my boy and I work together
making music of boulder and grit,
passing stones over this growing wall.
We fill the brief space between us
with small notes, flat, sharp,
coming closer in building a barrier
that forgets the contours of the fells.
I see him now in the air
and never-harming rain, a man spared
the heat of the pit. We make
our own small monuments.
We were here and we thought about
scored coping, lunkies for sheep,
made stiles and badger smoots
and paused for breath on the mossy clefts.
I might hear the gush of water
pumped from galleries and shafts,
whispers of re-hiring. But Iím too old
and spoiled by the open.
My boy lacks the skills of prop, board
and pick, spends his days
in this uplifting labour, his voice
quavering between whistle and hum.