Belfast Morning 1959

The women of Belfast couldn't tell the time 
had no clocks
maybe to remind them of their place 
to win a wage and earn god's grace 
each mill horn wailed
to a cacophony of perfect discord
 
Get up for work and ready your head 
for the clattering racket of the weaving shed 

In our house the air of early morning 
stayed still until the 10 to 7 horn 
then scullery rattles of pan and plate 
and the shovel's rasp as it readied the grate 
seeped through the rough blankets and heavy quilt 

When called we dropped from the attic bedroom 
urged by a straining bladder 
swung off the creaking slingsby ladder 
hit the landing on the run 
played light notes against the white delfh dish
a childish echo 
of the loud gabbling torrent
of our daddy's morning pish

by Barney Rooney

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