Don’t Keep Your Head Down

The Blacksmiths Dream-by Douglas Thompson-300714 copy


My great grandfather was a blacksmith
they worked in threes around the anvil
taking turns to swing their hammers down
but something made him hesitate
and in that fatal instant his whole life hung
in purgatory along with his descendants
their very existence
including me.

The hammer struck the back of his head
and he never woke again
paralysed for three years until death
catching fragments of voices perhaps
his family at the bedside
descending into destitution
without a welfare state.

His wife died in a workhouse
after God knows what desperate resorts
the children survived
all except the one conceived after his death
who contracted tuberculosis
and was nursed by my grandfather
the girl’s sire must have been
some other man who ‘comforted’
my great grandmother
though not enough to save her.

This entry was posted in Art, History, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Don’t Keep Your Head Down

  1. Pingback: Family history | The Poetry of Alastair R Thompson, 1920-1974.

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