Bricklayer – by Clint Wastling


English, header, stretcher, Flemish bond,
he taught me the basic stack before a brew
of builder’s tea and a fag break drew all to
the Portacabin.
If he could lay five hundred bricks
he’d get a full day’s pay.
Through all but the worst of weather
he’d work long hours, fingers taped,
shammy gloves kept out the lime:
bed of mortar, brick, tap, level.
He could halve a brick with one rap of the trowel:
Before he died,
dad listed houses, bungalows, schools,
a cold war bunker
but his first, he spoke of fondly,
flats on Bricknall Avenue whilst
apprenticed to old Jack Mather.
Perhaps he thought we’d photograph them all.
Make the mortar
mix sand and lime: 3:1 – blend in the water.
I see him now, his thin frame,
a shock of auburn hair
and fingers which
built brick on brick to house his every dream.




Clint Wastling is a writer based in the East Riding of Yorkshire. He’s had poetry published in Gold, Dreamcatcher and River Poets Journal  among others in the UK and USA. His first novel, The Geology of Desire, was published recently by Stairwell Books. His second, Tyrants Rex, part 1 of a dystopian sci-fi trilogy, is due out in August 2017.

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