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So consider learning about the birds in the winding gear of Lancashire.

By: Ken Simm

Page 1, Fourth of the Confounded Letters


Me walking through the tall grass of childhood with wet feet. Considering this.

Two short eared owls flying low out of the snow mist across the brick making clay pit. Double barbed feathered wings silent. This is no accident.

The Steppes of Central Asia, Borodin was favourite for dreaming and conjuring on a mono radio. Listening to myself when jumping down the grey canal embankment was pleasure enough. Large barges drawn dragging by large horses silent too except for whip crack cold, calling feathered feet dragging from the pit head.

Coal shining contrasting snow. Rides into town with barges and back again with one friend dog on Saturday. Other friend left when he fell into a mud pit and drowned with his snot nose.

Watching finally black and white wrestling and old men and boxes with small flickering.

Next door Mr Lawrenson was deaf and next door Mr Barker was bedridden and dead. He will not harm you even if his mouth opened his eyes and grave noises came gurgling up throat tunnels.

Dad drunken spitting, sprawling and bleeding heart attack eyes and rough whiskers against skin. Peeing forever into the outside wall pipe tin bath clanging below my window. Never stopping and coughing and beating. because I heard what my Father was.

Mothering dropped half a crown on the floor and it hit her on the back of the neck. Mother and sisters did not spend money except on themselves. All clan eight.

So around the coal pit slag heaps with an old bath pram squeaking collecting and running away from Uncle Bill who saved it .

Working in the greengrocers, for the witch bitch getting mice in my mouth and rats on my legs. And you don't know you are born for a pound a week. Stolen by Mother always. But seeing the small tits of the girls in the boxes of cabbage.

Not down the pit or up to the mill. Education is a talisman. Why work with your hands when your brain will do better? Why work with your hand when you can draw it?

Dialect donkey work all that was left for all the others. And the winding gear is gone so we cannot see our way home. But learning is better alone.

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