The Pitman Painter – by Tom Moody



For Jack Harrison, the pitman painter who loved light.

Out before back-shift starts
breathing the air’s clean sting.
Setting up paint and easel
A cold dawn, the light thin.

The Staithes are glazed black.
Snow crystals crust the handrail,
sharp, bright as crushed coal.
The air – soundless, frozen, still.

The horizon is a dark screen
that sieves the slow sunrise.
One thread trickles through
to streak gold on grey waters.

A boat chugs out of the haze.
Not Temeraire; the squat ash-barge
barely makes way against the ebb.
A dark curl runs from bow to bank.

Under the timber deck
a spreading ripple,
a rhythmic cat-lap
that licks each pile.




A former nurse, Tom was a ‘late starter’ in writing and is trying to make up lost time. He has had articles published in journals, written a prize winning short radio script for BBC Newcastle and was a prize winner in last year’s New Writing North Crime Short Story competition. He has had several poems published in Orbis and has just completed an MA in creative writing at Newcastle University.

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