The Red step and Thee

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The word thee means you in South Yorkshire and is still spoken. The Red step refers to the houses which had a red or sometimes white step on the front door in my childhood. Finally forgive any mistakes as I have not written anything for two years. Enjoy


The Red Step and Thee

Progress dissolves the paint of Lowry’s image
never to be seen again in children’s eyes.
Faceless individuals
blurred in match stick graves,
witnessed by strangers
from a forgotten window
In the clouds of the last steam train.

The homes of yesterdays hovel
covered in blackened walls of soot.
Leaves a legacy
that the faeces of wealth has moved on
and brown field is the apology
that council apostles give.

Still the echoes of humanity
gives way to a church
that only the old can see.
The last survivors of a planet
Where rescue has been abandoned by time

Memories of Jericho greet
the historians camera,
as the dust removes the sun
from cataract eyes holding the past

The smash of the wrecking ball
mimic’s a galaxies demise.
The stars of yesterday
leave a trace of community
where the crucible of men,
were born in corrupted air that hides
the sacrifice of life.

An equation that is beyond this universe
for life is an illusion that only fading eyes can see.
Yet suffering and graft is survival,
the heat of furnace puts bread on the table
while the molten metal reflects
the souls of men to God.

A reflection that reminds the living,
of the aching poverty that haunts
a callused hand,
reaching for a drunken solace that gives
existence to a temporary peace.

While a palace called the workhouse
competes with mortality like a dying star.
Churning the names of nobody into oblivion.

Rest is for the fools on the hill
while sleep harbours the devil.
Bread will burn only for 30 pieces of silver
and Sunday will always demand
a service to God.

Life bides its time in a failing body,
old age will fill this dark space.
Never to be spoken.
For youth is best savoured while it lasts.

Redemption is found in a girl with rags for pigtails,
who sees the boy in taverns light.
Pock marked and spoken in a language
that only thee will understand

This girl is where creation takes back all that is lost
for her home is the only universe that matters.
A terraced house is a place of love
where the horrors of life cannot pass.

A sanctuary where the roots of creation
mirror the seedlings of a forest to come,
that is protected by an ancient cross
which no atheist can steal.
A humble red step,
curved like the cup of Christ

Here lies the history of forgotten souls.
A family known only to the ledgers quill.
Dirty feet, tiny and large,
anointed by a destiny that could not be avoided.
Happiness is to savour and share
the bread and dripping
Scraped in obedience
of a penitent wage.

Welcome cannot afford a mat.
A greeting is met by a red step
that only a true King would understand.

Kept sacred in cleanliness
by scrubbing away the misfortunes of life.
This is the shield of a proud woman
who bled away her life,
for family and husband
and children lost to disease and poverty.

Happiness and sorrow will always cross this step
but all will find absolution.
For woman is the priest and confessor
she is the oak that defies this darkness.
A girl apprentice turned master
in the keeping of the red step.

And though her flame blew out
in the wind of a Spanish winter
an ember of light still flickers in the sky.
Not sought by astronomers
nor wished on by lovers.

She is just there.
Watching over the forest
that her spirit created
Known only to God
and the children that love left behind..

© cooky 2023
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Cooky. I sometimes have difficulty understanding poetry these days so I have to be careful what I write. I can say with confidence however that I understood this and thought it was very well written …


Welcome back, cookie! 🙂


It’s a good read Cooky, there is work to do, however this piece is one that will turn good into great with a little effort. Welcome Back mate.


Back with a bang Cooky, a great piece, I was totally absorbed all the way through, and I thought
Welcome cannot afford a mat.
A greeting is met by a red step
that only a true King would understand.
Was just super, look forward to reading you stuff again. Best Keith

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