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MUSED
BellaOnline Literary Review
Stairs by Albert Rollins

Poetry


In the Shadow of the Crane

John Keeman

I was born
In the shadow of the crane
Where I heard
Horsesí tack jangling in the wind
Hooves sparking on cobblestones
Steel on steel
Wood on wood
The hissing of acetylene

I was born
In the shadow of the crane
Where I smelled
Spices from the far east
Burning coal and black lead
New made bread
Machine oil
The dampness of a Clydesdale

I was born
In the shadow of the crane
Where I saw
Great ships steaming for foreign shores
Tall tenements lit by gas
Tramway lines
Model houses
The limbless of another war

I was born
In the shadow of the crane
Where I tasted
Buttered potatoes on a plate
Salty ham and broken peas
Thick Scotch broth
Roasted cheese
The sweetness of an xmas cake

I was born
In the shadow of the crane
Where they spoke
Freedom and the rights of man
Justice for everyone
Trade unionism
Socialism
The sterile chasing of a dream

I was born
In the shadow of the crane
Where I felt
The riverís foggy breath
The softness of a young girlís kiss
A motherís slap
A boxerís fist
The coldness of a fatherís love

I was born
In the shadow of the crane
Where I heard
A shipís horn blaring through the fog
On a dark and frosty new yearís eve
An Irish song
And tackety boots
Marking time on a stone staircase

Spring Equinox 2011 Table of Contents