Treasure Island

Douglas McClarty

(Northern Ireland)

Gathering Spuds


Outside our house in drumard Drive
Sandy, s horse stands tired and still
The five shilling coal bag is heaved aloft
As he shuffles towards our empty shed
Tonight we, ll feel the glow of heat
Before we, re put upstairs to sleep.

The window panes are white with frost
Our breath like woodbine without the smell
Fades as we fall asleep
We dream of wearing out our shoes
On the slides we made on the icy street.

At six o'clock I here that shout
Its time to get up, get out.
To gather pretties from from frosty fields.
The farmers waiting near Kyle's brae
To hire lucky gathers for the day.
Will I be taken, I could earn ten bob
Or be sent home without a job.

The trailer bumps along the darkened road
The straw I sit on is cold and wet.
The drizzling rain begins to clear.
As we reach the fields at the suns first ray.
The start of my first back breaking day.

My leaking shoes squelch and squeak
As mud gathers round my freezing feet.
Gathering spuds is no easy task
But ten bob can lighten the load for sandy, s horse.
And I could have the warmest feet
On drumard drives icy street.

Submitted: Friday, October 11, 2013
Edited: Monday, November 04, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

My memories of potato gathering in the 1950's I was 11 years old

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