The bricht rays o the Winter Solstice daws,
Streakin oot owre the Mauchline Basin Plain,
Lichtin oan a slumberin colossus,
The lanely relic o a bygone age.
The horrals o the Barony proudly staun,
Implacable; a great, grey ghaist o steel.
The ‘A’ Frame, lik some occult wicker-man,
Grim emissary o some auncient god,
Wha, like a god, demandit sweit an tears,
An the bluid o thaim wha wir sacrificed
Oan the altar o Mammon an progress.
They’re mindit oan a memorial stane,
The men wha dee’d here, an the men wha leeved.
Twa thoosan pair o eident carefu hauns,
The miners an jiners an engineers,
Wha nevvir aince thocht, as they lauched an joked,
That Fate micht hae a sense o humour tae.
The knowledge they hud sae painfully won,
Wid disappear in that terrible year,
Swept awa bi the haun o history.
Nou the bus drives by wi young Jim an Tam,
Past chain-link fences, roostit ‘Keep-Oot’ signs,
Oan their wey tae the Technical College.
They ken they’re lucky tae hae goat a trade,
It sets thaim apairt frae the ither boys.
The mantle o the village artisan
Is still a badge fir thaim tae wear wi pride;
Council jiners, plumbers or bricklayers,
Electricians, painters an plaisterers.
Aneath thon giant bestridin the yird,
Aneath the lengthnin sheddas o the past,
They’ll stoop an gaither up the worn-oot tools,
An forge thaim wi a newer, keener edge,
O Comradeship an Unity an Strength.
About this poem
This poem was commissioned by Cathy Jamieson MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, in 2005. It was part of the second stage of the SPL’s Holyrood Link project, through which poets and MSPs were partnered and explored areas of mutual interest.
Rab wilson comments:
Ah felt that this worthy project deserved mair as a bit o 'flung thegaither' free verse - sae tae that end ah've tyauved ower creatin a formal verse piece that, in the final analysis, read in a vera informal manner!
This blank verse poem 'Labour' cebrates Labour/Socialist values, wi a local slant. It daels wi the industral past o East Ayrshire - an howpfully the industrial future.