This poem appeared in the
Times Literary Supplement No.5433, May 18 2007
By the side door her van is parked
and bales lie side-by-side in the lane.
Was she here whilst I was showering,
lining yelm with her muff ligger?
Is it a good idea to call up
while she busies with her withy rod?
At elevenses, she comes down
for a builder's tea and a sandwich.
She stands against the ladder
scratching her gnat-bitten back,
stretching knees sore from the biddle,
braces unshouldered round her waist.
Seeing me in the window she waves.
I wave back, pretend to be busy.
Maybe she'll catch her forefinger
with the spragger and need me
to carry out first aid, play doctor.
But she's done this hundreds of times.
Her fulfilment is no empty cliche
about A Woman In A Man's World.
It's something I inhabit, a warm dry
that keeps me snug in the backroom
when I'm at my desk quoting a line
by Mao: Women hold up half the sky.