Mercian Hymns

Extract from Mercian Hymns

 

XXV

Brooding on the eightieth letter of Fors Clavigera, I speak this in memory of my grandmother, whose childhood and prime womanhood were spent in the nailer’s darg.

The nailshop stood back of the cottage, by the fold. It reeked stale mineral sweat. Sparks had furred its low roof. In dawn-light the troughed water floated a damson-bloom of dust—not to be shaken by posthumous clamour. It is one thing to celebrate the ‘quick forge’, another to cradle a face hare-lipped by the searing wire.

Brooding on the eightieth letter of Fors Clavigera, I speak this in memory of my grandmother, whose childhood and prime womanhood were spent in the nailer’s darg.

In the BBC 100 collection, recording used by kind permission of the BBC and by kind permission of the literary estate.

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