BULB FACTORY

NEAR MEDEMBLIK HOLLAND scott 1997

NEAR MEDEMBLIK HOLLAND scott 1997

It’s cold these days but the coldest I have ever been I think was in Noord Holland when I worked in a bulb factory, at this time of year, 15 years ago. Our shift went from 3pm to 3am. We worked sorting bulbs in a big old shed and as the winter deepened so did the cold until one night I realised, or my body did at least, that I could die in cold like that. I remember how scary that feeling was and I am glad to be indoors and warm. Here’s a poem I wrote at the time…

BULB FACTORY

The last bulbs shimmy
down the belt,
crates stacked
machines cleaned,
floors swept,
stalks and dust,
into boxes.

Outside the night
is black and starry.
Declan howls across
frozen fields that
‘…heaven’s vault should crack.’
It is 3am.

LIghts flicker in
the hedges. We see
the coach. Muddy
feet, tired, cold,
I sit near the back
beside no-one.

Flat road, even trees,
windmill, inky black
on indigo.
A village sleeps
But for a light,
here, there.
Andy gets off at the bridge.

We arrive.
Off the coach,
front, side.
Through the dark suburb
twos, threes split off,
hurrying
to warm beds.

Face raw,
I stumble in the dark,
see Orion wheeling overhead.
I promise I will stop,
some night,
and find out where
the stars are.

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