More Reflections In A Broken Mirror


I am not employed any more

Too old at fifty-seven

Thirty-five years I worked for that firm

Making electric motors

I knew my stuff

Learnt the hard way

Went to night school for my trade needs

Mastered all skills pretty well

Endured the odd tyrant as a boss

But that was no real problem

The union kept them in check for most of the time

Earned enough to raise a family

Four boys and a girl

Wife didn’t work except at home

Life for both of us was manageable

Until the changes came

Takeover by an English firm and new engine design

Invasion by young bloods

With university qualifications

I had outlived my usefulness

It was time for me to go 

Diplomatic praise coloured my farewell

And a travel bag gift

That was it

My usefulness was over

Bleak is the world if you’re no more needed

Looked for other work 

But who wants an obsolete technician

Tried out as a labourer on roadwork

Which didn’t last

As the physical stress was beyond me

Got a job as Santa Clause with a big department store

But Christmas comes but once a year

So I’m on the dole queue now

That is just enough since my wife died

As to what comes next only fate will decide

O Hermes 

Hermes – Greek God of Gambling

Here I sit

Pulling the poker machine lever

Longing to win though greed is a sin

Five of a kind is on my mind


See the wheels spin

It’s magic


Excitement comes

In the golden glee of anticipation

I know I will win soon

It has to be me

Soon you will see


Oh dear

Well next time

Quick give the lever another flick

Ah that was close

Perhaps next time

Here we go… 

Well never mind

There’s enchantment in the spinning wheels

Especially if you are the chosen one

That’s me

It has to be me

Certain to win


As long as you don’t give in

Turn again wheels


This time…


Well never mind

Triumph is but a lever away

I cannot hear any other thing you say


I am not a jockey any more

Was an apprentice once

But I got too heavy

Starved myself

Constantly beat up a punching bag

All in vain

Weight killed my career

No more pre-dawn duties now

Early rising for time trials on the track

No more cleaning the stables

Watching horses roll in the sand

Hosing them down afterwards

Then brushing their coat

No more crouching over the neck of muscular creatures

And whipping them to the post

I loved the smell of horses

As they stamped their feet at the starting gate

Felt the wonder of their surge forward as the race began

Rode a winner or two

Following the boss’s instructions

Rode losers too

Also following instructions

Was just beginning to learn race tactics

When weight crushed my career

Keeping the short priced favourite in a pocket

Seizing an opening before a desperate rival

Surging towards the winning post at the right moment

Had two bad falls

Broke a leg once and three ribs

But fear doesn’t get you

When you have no choice but to keep on riding

So that’s it

Just an urger on the track these days

No more horsemanship

Collect garbage for the council now

Memories are the only other reason for me to take a bow

Climbing Boy

I was a climbing boy for a chimney sweep

When I was but twelve years old

Memories are painful

They still haunt me

Even though time causes life to change

I am now old at sixty-three

And live on with the help of charity

But thoughts of those days

Never fade away

My parents sold me to Master Sweep Groggs

He called me his apprentice

What a false name!

We boys were but tools of greed

Enslaved to work in Hell

Some of us died, murdered by soot

My friend George Brewster

Met his death trapped 

In a narrow chimney pipe

Some of us were killed by falls

We were always hungry

I slept on a basement floor

With a filthy sooty sack to keep me warm

I never knew the comfort of soap and water

We worked from dawn to dusk

Every day of the year

But May Day

When some of us danced in the streets

Mr Blake wrote poetry about us

And the parliament passed laws at last

Forbidding such work by children

Life for withered me now drags on by

But the recollections in my soul are yet to die

O Vietnam

My days as a soldier are over

Yet that life I led never leaves me alone

People still die in my mind

Innocent folk in disguise

I can still see the fear in their eyes

A so called entente was the guilty scenario

A reason for dark deeds

Arranged by me the agent of death

So many good people dying 

When their one hostile act

Was to till their soil

Children in that place tasted poison

Harvested from the earth

Enemies emerging from holes in the ground

Met my bullets instead of the sun

It was a merciless crime, that time 

A cause for so called justice planned in Hell

I saw the living

Converted to nothing but meat

As I fell from grace merely to avoid defeat

Killed anything that moved

And then sought reasons to disguise the truth

Sprayed a village with my bullets

Before I entered

Then found lifeless old folks who had wished me no harm

And a dead dog

Radioed advice on targets to the big guns

Annihilation was the consequence

All in the name of peace

O Vietnam

What have I done to you?

What have you done to me?

How noble you are to forgive me!

May all your children outlive me

Times Have Changed

I shall not work in a mine again

I have no place in the Minotaur’s den

No more digging up the sedimentary past

Safety from silicosis at last

The sun is mine whenever I choose

My toil for Pluto was a dangerous ruse

Methane’s no longer a threat to me

Neither is mine-induced seismicity

I choose normal wash now to rinse my shirts

Don’t scrub my hands with Solvol till it hurts

I am free of dangers that cause me stress

Such as the deadly H2S

I am finding peace now in my old age

Life free of shovelling suits this stage

The only lift now I explore

Is the one found in a department store

The air I breathe is free of dust

The ground I walk on I can trust

So there you have it, times have changed

My humble life is rearranged

For me a new day is suddenly dawning

And I can sleep in every morning

This feeling of peace is habit forming

As I help save the world from global warming


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