Aabye's Baby
She could not read, nor scarcely sign her name
And yet I am diminished by her death.
At eventide her husband ate the first
And then the donkey fed and slaked his thirst
Before she had a chance to catch her breath.
And yards, not miles, were borders to her fame.

Yet at this tiny, dumpy woman. Look!
You'll find both love and courage in her life;
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife
She learned to cope with life and death, and book
The small transactions of her daily chores
With laughter; meet her troubles with a joke;
But underneath were words she never spoke
Of constant working without any pause.

Kenneth Maclean Kirk's ancesters are from Wester Ross, UK. He was born in Durham in 1920, but brought up in Keighley and educated at Bradford Grammar School and Oriel College, Oxford. He spent WW2 in the Middle East and Italy. He has been involved in training with the National Association of Boy's Clubs and the British Iron & Steel Federation. In the mid-50s he managed a small carbon steel strip company in Sheffield. In the 80s he worked as a management consultant in Jeddah. Since the 90s he has lived in Cyprus. This poem is from his collection The Impact of Steel (New Hope International, 2001). There is another poem on Pickings. The Aabye's Baby Archive
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Ken Kirk, 2001
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This page last updated: 12th November 2006.