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John Rickell

Rookie (I November 1931 / York)

The Gate Latch


I had not known a day so quick
darkness soon upon us, the gate
sombre in its cloak of moss
tight shut, the latch wrought,
forged so many years ago
in flame and blacksmith sweat,
smote by hammer, made in smoke
alongside patient horses
ploughing-shear and hinges
and hammer-welded chains.
Rough hands gentle as the dove
twisting rods for garden gates
fire-side fender and the sickle;
as children at the open door,
bronze in the firelight glow
on their way from school
in the darkening eve
watch the latch, like magic,
its nativity before their eyes.
Curving handle, still today,
wrought with love and skill
by hands not made for love,
metamorphosed at evening light
I pressed the latch felt the hammer blows
Of yester-year, clang and clatter
children curled in feather quilts,
mum and dad not yet asleep.

Submitted: Sunday, January 19, 2014
Edited: Sunday, January 19, 2014

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