428 – Scaffolding

Poem number 428




Scaffolding. It’s everywhere –

The roads, the streets the market square,

Buildings up and buildings down

An ever changing, fluid town

Where metal poles support the sky

Each time I chance to raise my eye.


Those metal poles of death and birth

So cold and hard, yet full of worth

So full of care, so full of love

They help our buildings rise above

The earth, to dominate the sky

They help them live, they help them die


Look now – behold! – on Chatham Street

A block of flats, so new and neat

Is rising from the empty ground

With scaffolding wrapped all around

To keep it safe, to help it learn

To stand alone whilst seasons turn


And look – you see? – that tower there

Now middle-aged and showing wear?

The scaffold lends a helping hand

Whilst workmen point and paint and sand

A willing friend, supportive, sweet

To help it get back on its feet


Now spare a glance for Western Tower

(Growing smaller by the hour)

It’s old, decrepit, soon to die

And whilst we bid our fond goodbye

The scaffolding, a life-long friend

Supports its weight until the end.


From birth to death and in between

That scaffolding so strong, so mean

Yet with a steely heart of gold

Looks after buildings, young and old

Supports the sick and cures the lame –

A midwife, shepherd, walking frame.


So raise your eyes next time you stroll

To get your lunchtime sausage roll,

Raise your eyes, look up, take heed

Of all the scaffolding we need

Strong and silent, full of care

And I for one am glad it’s there.


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