Frank Prem

factory work

the factory was led
by the primary dreamer

his job
to see the way
using the vision
of the night

to tell
with just a glance
the true state
of the factory

of the way things are

the way
they need to be

the guard
stationed at the gatehouse
an unskilled job
was meant to receive
was not supposed
to judge

but every man
and woman
must present their poem
at the gatehouse

or else
no work

or else
no pay

or else no life
to warm their hearts
before the glare
of the red-eyed kiln

the unblinking kiln

he thought Madelaine
had progressed
the most
in the last few months
had high prospects

her verse
held form
and flow
a strict metre

Pedro though
was still stuck inside
little doggy rhymes

not much

for the right
to get his cheque
on payday

the guard
sometimes read aloud
a few of the stanzas
he steals

down at the pub
in the parlor
with a pint of beer
when he was
by himself

all the time

one day

one good day
he would
write a poem
that he thought himself
on paper

and earn the right
to hand them in
to some other guard
while he worked
the better work
with the other skilled

in front of
the red-eyed
of the factory

under the sleeping hand
of the dreamer

the master dreamer

until then
he’d accept the scribblings
and notes
of every working man and woman
who filed by him
to start their shift

and he’d practice
by reading them
in a murmur

his lips
in the near silence
of an act
of faith



  • Nicholas Browning

    Very deep stuff we have here I see. Well done Frank. Good to see it. In my experience, factory work would be much more interesting if it went down like this. Thanks bud.

    • Frank Prem

      Hi Nicholas. Thank you. Poetry = skilled. That appealed to me very much.

    • Michael Edwards

      Brill write Frank - who is Madelaine?

      • Frank Prem

        Thanks Michael. I made her up. If there were ever a sequel, I'm sure she'd have a part.

        • Michael Edwards

          Can you make up a friend for her? One each? :)

        • 1 more comment

        • Goldfinch60

          Wonderful write, we were all that guard once upon a time.

          • Frank Prem

            Sometimes, I feel I still am, GF.

          • Martina Lynch

            I absolutely love this... I grew up in the potteries and my first job on the day I left school was on a factory Pot bank ..I was a sorter and a lithographer.... thanks for the memories!

            • Frank Prem

              Hey Martina. Thank you. That's a delightful reflection and memory. I have been reading a little of porcelain making most recently and that is reflected in the setting of this piece - not that I know anything at all about it.

              I'm delighted. Again, thank you.

              • Martina Lynch

                Your welcome...and yes it is...I have worked for both Royal Doulton and Wedgwoods Spode and Minton and Coalport, all historic pottery makers. You will have fun researching those, to be sure!

              • 1 more comment

              • FredPeyer

                'The factory was lead by the primary dreamer' is a wonderful expression. Aren't we all 'primary dreamers'? And the poem ends with 'an act of faith', which again is something we all experience when first presenting our writing.
                This is so good! Thanks Frank.

                • Frank Prem

                  Thank you Fred. I'm glad.

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