12 Days Remaining
Terry Jones

Thursday 2nd
posted by Jody Porter in Arts

Well Versed is edited by Jody Porter

House in Winter
Terry Jones

Building a house in winter, my father
              fought with earth cooked to iron by frost.
He'd set a fire to thaw sand, gravel, cement,
              free water, then run with the barra’
to lay foundations before concrete set
              to a hard ice brick fossilising shovel and pick.

He worked back-breaker hours in cold
              so violent it could crack bricks like glass,
on a single touch of steel weld fast a hand.
              Though never his. Too quick for that, unequalled
through Yorkshire, he'd load the hod then climb
              so fast he met himself returning for a second stack.

Intimate as sweat, brick by brick lugging a dead weight,
              he put up half of Bradford in his time.
Laboured hair grey as cement, scaffold of ribs
              plain through weather-burned skin,
I see him through a sheet of ice: stooped,
              still climbing to the surface of forty years hard graft.

Terry Jones won first prize in the Bridport international poetry competition in 2011, the same year his extended pamphlet, Furious Resonance, was published by Poetry Salzburg. His poems have appeared in The New Statesman, Poetry Review, The London Magazine, Magma, Agenda, Ambit, The Rialto and elsewhere. He lives and works in Cumbria.

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