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Village Childhood

He was the village blacksmith
To us children he was known
As our adopted Uncle Wilf
They'd no children of their own.
Six days a week he worked,
His hours long and physically hard.
Our cottage back door opened
Straight onto the smithy yard.

The yard was full of machinery
Each one a potential toy,
Schooner, stagecoach, tank
Imagined by a lonely little boy.
A binder, a reaper, a hay rake
A seed drill, a harrow, a plough
I never saw them arrive and go
They just came and went somehow.

Sometimes there were farmers
Serious, big weathered men.
Talking quietly in the Forge
Maybe laughing now and then.
I stood there among them,
Old Tom's youngest lad,
They all knew and respected
My hard working labourer dad.

Uncle Wilf talked as he worked,
Never had much time to stop,
Always work to be done
In a busy blacksmith's shop.
Sometime he'd let me help him,
Giving me a little job to do,
Like handing him the nails to be
Driven into a  Shire's new shoe.

Just a country childhood
Just after the Second War
And binders, harrows and reapers
Weren't so much needed anymore.
The big Combined Harvester
Very quickly came along
And, not long after, the Shires  
And village smithies were all gone.

Now, seventy years later,
Eyes closed, I recall with joy
My very special childhood as
A lonely Yorkshire village boy.
Life seemed to be a lot slower
And people didn't have a lot
But we'd really appreciated  
The  little bits we'd all got.


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