(01/01/1966 / BIRMINGHAM)

The Refuse Collection

The morning wakes 'neath winter skies
Still dark save for the lamps that shine,
As two men roll the dustbins down
Each pathway to the kerb,
One works the left one works the right
The wagon trailing far behind,
Yet inching ever closer till
The hush it does disturb.

Side by side the bins in pairs
Now line the bleak and empty street,
Like statues formed of rusting steel
They stand as if in shame,
Each bears the number of the house
That's painted on their battered lids,
Some bent so they now barely fit
Their poor misshapen frame.

They wait for workers brawny hands
To lift them to their shoulders broad,
Then tip the trash into the truck
And place them down again,
The houses lit by amber light
That flashes on the driver's cab,
The wagon's engine roars so loud
While bin men toil and strain.

The crunch and crash as bottles break
And cans are crushed into a bale,
Within the strong and mighty jaws
Which chew the rotting cud,
One bangs the side it moves along
As bins are dragged back into place,
Then stops again to gather more
Discarded filth and crud.


Comments (5)

One would never think that one could write so much about dustbins, but you have captured this weekly scene so well. Well done indeed for this one. Love and hugs Ernestine XXX
Done well Andrew, and using a form that appropriately dates to the period. It was like an alarmclock, but never set to please an early riser. Rgds, Ivan
Hi Andrew! ! I remember this. Got instant flashbacks as i began to read your poem! Thanks for sharing these memories past! Best regards, Friend Thad *10*! !
Like so many of your skillful works Andrew, this is no exception in offering its reader a glimpse into those by-gone days, and again it was as if I was watching all that was taking place BRILLIANT! ! Love duncan X
This dates back to the times when I was a child in the 1960's and used to watch the refuse collection from my bedroom window. Times have changed now of course. No longer do we have steel bins, no longer do the bin men collect your bin from your door and replace it there again afterwards. Call it progress but I'm not alone in thinking things were much better back then. Andrew