A Memory Of St Davids

In St Davids in Wales i picked potatoes in my early twenties
And though that was more than thirty years ago
On looking back in time it doesn't seem that long
The months and years did not drag on that slow.

The picking season lasted three to four weeks
And in the farmer's galvanized pickers shed we stayed
The work was hard you well might say back breaking
And by the bag the farmer always paid.

In St Davids by the sea the nights are chilly
The weather there is never warm in May
And though i had but one blanket for cover
I did sleep sound tired from the tiring day.

There's easier ways by far of making money
And potato picking only for the young and strong
And the rewards of our labour went too quickly
A few nights drinking it did not last long.

I won't be hurrying back to old St Davids
For till the day i die I will recall
A sign that read 'Potato pickers here not welcome'
On notice board nailed to the restaurant wall.

The ignorance of class discrimination
All 'Tatie hokers' were inferior they implied
I never darkened the door of that restaurant
For i too have my sense of worth and pride.

But i met some nice people in St Davids
Can't knock a whole village for the snobbish few
They showed a genuine warmth towards tatie hokers
And our mutual admiration for them grew.

It's been a while since i was in St Davids
And from where i now live it seems far away
I picked potatoes there when in my early twenties
And by the bag the farmer used to pay.

by Francis Duggan

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