A Great Big Crane


Whenever I pass a Great Big Crane
I look up at the man in the Perspex box
(though it’s never quite where you expect it to be)
a Lego man in a yellow hat
with clamps instead of hands –
levers forwards, sideways, backwards,
making the daddy-long-legs pass
the knives and forks to the mortal men
who must look just like Lego men
to the man in the Perspex box.

Whenever I pass a Great Big Crane
I pretend not to wish that I could be
the Lego man in the Perspex box:
I mean, I don’t accost passers-by
and say that I would like to spend
my working day in the sky;
I don’t buy the evening paper
to scan the Crane Operators Wanted section;
while dithering at the traffic lights
I don’t finger the gear-stick
imagining I’m shifting girders,
but if I’m really honest…Well…

To be so distant,
so comfortable,
with a window-box full of levers,
a lunchbox
and a box-seat above the crowds,

to swing that huge bucket of concrete
with the merest hint of the heel of the hand,
without spilling a drop, without knocking over
the guy on the ladder with bricks on his shoulder,
to see the building slowly rising to meet me
on the tide of the working week…

How could I want to be anything else?