Poetics: Ian Parks

Andrew Oldham's Boneyard

The Wheel

The pithead used to dominate the town.
My dead forefathers came and went,
were buried in the shadow cast by it.
I passed it on my way to school,
heard its revolutions in the night.
If the pit head was the place’s heart
the great wheel was its soul.
And then there was the slow dismantling.
The slag heap was grassed over. It became
an innocent green mound where cattle graze.
They hauled the winding gear away
and sold the chain for scrap
then took the giant wheel and clamped it down.
They did this to remind us where we came from,
what we did and who we were –
a monument of rusting metal spokes
that radiate from hub to rim
for kids to climb on, questioning.
Some day we’ll come with picks and dynamite,
Dislodge it from its concrete plinth.
We’ll drag it from the valley…

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