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Glasgow Boards/Forums _ Poetry and Verse _ A Shipyard Poem

Posted by: Rab 21st Oct 2006, 06:40pm

Heres a nice wee poem about working in The Yard.

The Journeyman by Brian Whittingham

Wurkin piecework in the funnel shoap,
building quick
but no quick enuff,
cursin an liftin an swerrin
cause it takes too long
tae wait oan the crane-man who
is lookin efter his mate
who stands him a few dinner time bevies
at the Seven Seas public bar
an you know cause
that's wherr you get yir three pint chaser
fur yir ashet pie supper
that yi eat wi yir rusty fingers,
then yi fa oot wi the timekeeper
cause o the stupit time he pit oan the joab
an you kid oan the boey
who wiz daft enuff tae
let yi pit a brush handle
through the arms of his ovoies
an you play
spin the hammer
like it wiz yir prize six shooter
an you laugh when the boey tries it
an it nearly brekks his toes,
an yi go tao the burner
an patter him up
so he'll burn yir joab
an yi momentarily watch
his torch ignitin
and you watch
the gas yi couldnae see
exploding
like a bomb,
an the cloud of rusty dust
an bodies hidin behind
guillotines an
flangers an
scrap-buckets an
yi squint thru the haze
at the guy that's no therr
cause he's been blown down the passage
wi a hole in his side
that he didnae huv
before yi pattered hin up,
an yi stoat ower tae the first aider
who pits a dod o cotton-wool stuck oan
wi sellotape, ower yir eye,
an yi realise how lucky yi wur
an how lucky the burner wisnae
then again,
he could huv been the guy
that fell in the furnace,
the first-aider wisnae much use tae him
neither he wiz.

Posted by: lindamac 16th Nov 2006, 03:08am

biggrin.gif My husband enjoyed that poem Rab,he related to it well as he was once a plater in Yarrows shipyard. biggrin.gif

Posted by: boots 19th Oct 2012, 10:46am

Hi Rab, Enjoyed reading the poem. I liked the way you drew your characters and showed how they related tae wan another. I even felt hostile to your main man - mean SOB that he was coulda had em all kilt.. Mostly I lovedyour closing lines. They showed your hero's detachment and utter disregard for others. And left me wonderin "WHY" Was he just a mean bastard or was it a kind of traditional hazing th at one did because it was expected of you?

Could you tell me what "pattered him up" means...maybe pm me?

Posted by: Gallusbisom 19th Oct 2012, 05:13pm

It kinda means "schmoozed" him. That may not help at all, sorry. LOL

Posted by: wellfield 19th Oct 2012, 08:11pm

Enjoyed it too talented man!!....I was a plater/welder or as they call us here 'Shipfitters'

Just for your info Rab,the plater here does his own rigging/fitting/cutting/welding/grinding and yes they are union jobs.

Posted by: A Mackinnon 19th Oct 2012, 10:11pm

QUOTE (wellfield @ 19th Oct 2012, 09:26pm) *
Enjoyed it too talented man!!....I was a plater/welder or as they call us here 'Shipfitters'

Just for your info Rab,the plater here does his own rigging/fitting/cutting/welding/grinding and yes they are union jobs.



Well now I know why my old trade of "Shipwright" is all but extinct. shock3.gif

Posted by: lindamac 20th Oct 2012, 01:02am

QUOTE (wellfield @ 20th Oct 2012, 07:26am) *
Enjoyed it too talented man!!....I was a plater/welder or as they call us here 'Shipfitters'

Just for your info Rab,the plater here does his own rigging/fitting/cutting/welding/grinding and yes they are union jobs.




My Husband is the very same here in Australia he certainly got his eyes opened when he first worked in the steele industry here in Australia now he actualy enjoys doing it all a sort of seeing the piece through so to speak but he was anxious when 1st working wondering if the union were going to give him trouble lol.cheers from Lindamac biggrin.gif

Posted by: lindamac 20th Oct 2012, 01:08am

QUOTE (boots @ 19th Oct 2012, 10:01pm) *
Hi Rab, Enjoyed reading the poem. I liked the way you drew your characters and showed how they related tae wan another. I even felt hostile to your main man - mean SOB that he was coulda had em all kilt.. Mostly I lovedyour closing lines. They showed your hero's detachment and utter disregard for others. And left me wonderin "WHY" Was he just a mean bastard or was it a kind of traditional hazing th at one did because it was expected of you?

Could you tell me what "pattered him up" means...maybe pm me?

Hello Boots Lindamac here ,the words pattered him up means to sweet talk and chatter him up to feel very favourablethus helping him out sort of like chatting someone up to get your own way from them. regards Linda thumbup.gif

Posted by: boots 20th Oct 2012, 01:35am

Damn good poem, isn't it? I can't get this particular "journeyman" out of my head and I think I've answered my own question. Thanks in part to your help Gallusbisom. I say "part" because by itself, I didn't "get" schmoozed" either but then I began to play with both words, interchanging them in the poem, I knew I was familiar with the word schmooze, I just couldn't remember in what context, then I thought of "patter" away from the ship yard and in to Locarno and presto, I had it! The poor wee laudie was being made tae feel the journeyman was treatin' him like an equal or as we might say here, he was being buttered up, for the final indignity.

Couldn't he just have been sent for a pail of elbowgrease or a skyhook or something? but then I suppose, there wouldn't be a poem.

Posted by: wellfield 20th Oct 2012, 01:41am

QUOTE (A Mackinnon @ 19th Oct 2012, 04:26pm) *
Well now I know why my old trade of "Shipwright" is all but extinct. shock3.gif

Not to worry A. Mack'...Shipwright here is still a trade on its own....

Posted by: DavidT 20th Oct 2012, 05:54am

Hello Rab, that's a fantastic piece of writing. I recognise the characters immediately as being a wee boy from Govan I'm used to hearing yardtalk. I must admit I have never set foot in a shipyard. I can see the tops of the cranes at Faifield's (now BAE Systems) right now from my front window. It's a sight I personally love, but is sadly threatened these days.
I think I recognise the actual place as there used to be a Seven Seas pub in Clydebank. So Brown's yard it would be. Sadly gone. The new Clydebank College stands in the grounds now. All that's left of that yard is the Titan crane which seems to be a bit of a curiosity. It's used for charity zipslides and abseils. At least it's still standing. It's like a huge monument to itself.

Posted by: Dave Grieve 20th Oct 2012, 06:10am

QUOTE (wellfield @ 19th Oct 2012, 10:26pm) *
Enjoyed it too talented man!!....I was a plater/welder or as they call us here 'Shipfitters'

Just for your info Rab,the plater here does his own rigging/fitting/cutting/welding/grinding and yes they are union jobs.


Same over here and include drilling and pipe fitting, I even operated a tower crane on one job

Posted by: wellfield 21st Oct 2012, 03:22am

QUOTE (Dave Grieve @ 20th Oct 2012, 12:25am) *
Same over here and include drilling and pipe fitting, I even operated a tower crane on one job

Yea' Dave I forgot to mention many other trades amalguated into one...it was done here to try and save the shipyards 'fraid it didn't do much good mind ye'

Posted by: wellfield 21st Oct 2012, 04:18am

There were 24 giant cranes all told in this project..this is a brand new dock in L.A. Harbour....President Clinton at the time gave a speech and officially opend the new project..a big dat for this wee fellow from Glasgow!



 

Posted by: wellfield 21st Oct 2012, 04:22am

David T mentioned cranes....I think I mentioned on here before that I had a marine welding & fabrication compant in Los Angeles harbour...these container cranes in the post above was one of my projects,this is the completion picture 12 cranes in a row.

Posted by: wellfield 21st Oct 2012, 04:44am

Sorry about the double pics!

There were 24 cranes all told in this project.....this is a brand new dock built from reclaimed land...President Clinton at the time gave the opening speech and officially opened the project...it was a big day for this wee fella from Glasgow and my employees,we worked two 12 hour shifts for almost a year,it was a union job also,so the boys on the job made a few bucks..I also repaired ocean going ships,also built tugs & barges in Los Angeles Harbour...the Clyde must have been in my blood!

Posted by: scossie 21st Oct 2012, 06:28am

Aye Welly
You never came up the clyde oan a Watterbiscuit Did Ye Matey..Great achievment Fur a Glesga Fella..Not to Mention Springburn ....I didn't set the wurld on fire..But started one when Oxy cutting at work.. unsure.gif ...Workmates were singin..".We didnt start the fire''...Ha''Ha'..Only a wee wan tho...Keep smilin...Scossie tongue.gif


Posted by: boots 21st Oct 2012, 08:48am

Thank you too Linda Mac. I didn.t see your post til just now.

boots

Posted by: wellfield 21st Oct 2012, 03:41pm

QUOTE (scossie @ 21st Oct 2012, 12:43am) *
Aye Welly
You never came up the clyde oan a Watterbiscuit Did Ye Matey..Great achievment Fur a Glesga Fella..Not to Mention Springburn ....I didn't set the wurld on fire..But started one when Oxy cutting at work.. unsure.gif ...Workmates were singin..".We didnt start the fire''...Ha''Ha'..Only a wee wan tho...Keep smilin...Scossie tongue.gif

Christ Scossie!...is that wit we aw looked like as weans!!!...great pic with the crane in the background!

Posted by: A Mackinnon 21st Oct 2012, 03:53pm

Great photo of Anderston weans with the "Finnie" crane in the background along with the tunnel entrance. Good post Wellfield.

Posted by: Rab 21st Oct 2012, 07:10pm

QUOTE (DavidT @ 20th Oct 2012, 07:09am) *
Hello Rab, that's a fantastic piece of writing. I recognise the characters immediately as being a wee boy from Govan I'm used to hearing yardtalk. I must admit I have never set foot in a shipyard. I can see the tops of the cranes at Faifield's (now BAE Systems) right now from my front window. It's a sight I personally love, but is sadly threatened these days.
I think I recognise the actual place as there used to be a Seven Seas pub in Clydebank. So Brown's yard it would be. Sadly gone. The new Clydebank College stands in the grounds now. All that's left of that yard is the Titan crane which seems to be a bit of a curiosity. It's used for charity zipslides and abseils. At least it's still standing. It's like a huge monument to itself.

I'm amazed that this wee poem has re-surfaced after all these years lying there! thumbup.gif Yes David, it surely is a fine piece of work. As a wee boy fae Renfrew I lived in the shadow and sounds of Simons-Lobnitz yards. Although I never worked in the yards, I heard all about them from my Dad (a Crane-man) and my best pal (a fitter). Mainly stories about apprentice tricks, ghastly injuries, jokes, fights etc but the Glasgow humour shone through all the time as it does in this poem, in its form as in its content. wink.gif

Posted by: Rab 21st Oct 2012, 08:02pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GZwJ7JvuZY

Posted by: lindamac 22nd Oct 2012, 02:35am

QUOTE (boots @ 21st Oct 2012, 08:03pm) *
Thank you too Linda Mac. I didn.t see your post til just now.

boots



Thats ok Boots you are most welcome regards Linda x

Posted by: DavidT 22nd Oct 2012, 08:16am

QUOTE (Rab @ 21st Oct 2012, 09:17pm) *
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GZwJ7JvuZY

Thanks for posting this Rab. I wasn't familiar with this poem or the book it comes from. I shall seek it oot. I am familiar with Owen McGuigan who made the video. He has been documenting life in the clydebank area for years. One of his pics got him into trouble with the local council when it appeared on That's Life a ling time ago. Look him up. He had a website called something like my clydebank photos (or maybe pictures).

Posted by: lubbock 22nd Oct 2012, 01:13pm

Very Good my man ,heres one for you.
The Last Call.

The ships foghorn echoes i'ts warning voice across the dead city
Only those who's buisness is the river stir quitely without fuss the call is answered through silent streets gaslight and instinct bring they who raised her from bare steel,Tey who now race against tide and the shouts and threats from the bowler hatted one.

Slowly the great ship creeps forward ever near i'ts natural and destined world,Below ot's iron belly they raise their hammrers for the last time and send her crashing into the darkened waters of the river.

Through the thickening dense blanket voices make order thick manila rope secures and restrains.Soon like her sisters she too will be gone never to return the eyes that gaze upon the gaint grey mass look away,The last of her kind the feel of iron the heat,And sounds of bringing life,Nothing now disturbs their sleep bodies and minds decay only the memories remains this river ,our river dies with us and in distant lands they stand in awe and wonder at the craft and skill that createdt this thing of beauty.


Posted by: Rab 22nd Oct 2012, 03:44pm

I feel I must follow that with up one of my favourite films to this thread as it certaiinly fits. No poetry - but it won an Oscar!

http://ssa.nls.uk/film.cfm?fid=2230

Don't forget to enlarge the screen! yes.gif

Posted by: DavidT 22nd Oct 2012, 06:03pm

Well I don't know how long that film was,.but it took me nearly half an hour to watch it biggrin.gif
Loved it. Loved the scripted tea break, the chalk drawings, the "funny looking biler suit". A brilliant film.

If you haven't done so already...check out Britain From Above. You can see all the yards at various times in the 20th century. You might even spot your old street.

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/asearch?search=glasgow%20shipyards