Time Was

When I was a boy

The cotton mill loomed large

Above the town

And Ward and Goldstone’s factory

At the bottom of Shakerley Road

And coalmines by the dozen

Were dotted here and there

And coal-fired steam engines

Ploughed through the dusty air

 

And men went into Paddy’s Hump

To play a game of cards

Or darts or even billiards and snooker

A bowling green outside

For when the weather was warm

And cigarettes were everywhere

And the smokers’ cough alarm

 

And Vimto from the Temperance Bar

After Sunday mass

A quarter pound of toffees he brought home

My father’s land

Son of an Irishman

His mother a Tyldesley girl and grand

 

All swept away

Those ways and those times

Modern world these days

Free of grime

But not free of sorrow

More’s the shame

 

And on this Christmas Eve

We face our share of ills

As they faced theirs

And the same is asked of us

As was of them

 

Be faithful in the little things

That’s all I ask of you

 

Brian Fahy

24 December 2022

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