1821 Holiday


No school today, and I can run and play
From our small home in narrow streets
To see the wide and paved way
The wealthy people walk,
With gas light
At night.

No school today, and on the dock I stand
Great ships high masts their canvas cracks
And when they sail the sight is grand
Their smell of men and tar,
In the air
My hair.

No school today, and outstretched the wind I flail
As those strange mills which grind our corn
Fantastic beasts who turn and sail
One-eyed upon the hills,
Groan and creak
Don't speak.

No school today, and against the pane
I press where girls on china paint
Their hands are sure their dress is plain
Bright colours on their brush,
And for me
Faerie.

No school today, and here the hammers ring
Iron brass coal to smelt and pour
Hot metal to make anything
A key or lamp or fender,
In a mould
Til cold.

No school today, and with my friends I run
To sugar-house in alley dark
Where old casks lie for us such fun
I climb within and there,
Scrapey sweet
To eat.

No school today, and by the brewers' dray
I stand and watch men barrels roll
And load for him to draw today
Great hooves on cobbled yard,
Harness tight
Buckle bright.

No school today, and here the bubbles rise
Fat and lye with fire and water
Men make soap cut blocks to size
Sell here and far away,
One piece free
For me.

No school today, and now I lie in straw
My legs are tired my eyes are closed
My head is full I'll walk no more
In quiet warmth recall,
All I've seen
And been.

By C.M.Tilbury