The clanking compound of the brewery
where my dad did shifts, whenever
work was slack on the buildings,
is buried now somewhere
beneath the panels of the multi-storey
car park and the chat that drifts across
from the cappuccino pavement.
Born to a scant inheritance
of rushy Sligo acres, my dad was bred
like his brothers to follow the work,
sending remittances home
from London, Reading, and Philadelphia –
would have been their defining shame.
And somewhere in the grainy hinterland
of just remembered childhood
I am watching a drayman
as he guides heraldic, towering horses
through a time-thinned stream of traffic.
Their sinews barely tensed,
they go unfussed about their business.
Published in Agenda Poetry Magazine
David Cooke won a Gregory Award in 1977 and published Brueghel’s Dancers in 1984, but stopped writing for twenty years. His poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals such as Agenda, The Bow Wow Shop, Critical Quarterly, Cyphers, The Frogmore Papers, The Irish Press, The London Magazine, The North, Orbis, Other Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry London, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Reader, The SHOp, Stand, Staple, and The Use of English. His retrospective collection, In the Distance, has just been published by Night Publishing and a further collection, Work Horses will be published by Ward Wood Publishing in 2012.