Dawn-Song for The Night Shift Workers

Five in the morning and walking back from a party.
I am ambling home across the Ormeau Road bridge.
It’s a cold Autumn morning unseasonably bright.
and yet the harsh tangerine glow of the streetlights
still accuse and the stray cats hiss “waster” as I pass.
Coming across a 24-hour supermarket warehouse
I stop to watch the row of identical lorries disembark.
surrounding the one nearest to the me are a team of men
who had clearly been up for almost as long as I had
loading and unloading pallets of locally sourced food.
pans of fluffy white fresh bread, phalanges of eggs,
enumerable pigs worth of smoked thick back bacon,
Taking a break from the labour and from the cold
these workers huddle under a slanting iron roof.
The men who feed us all smoke, joke, and laugh
while the sleeping city turns on its side oblivious.

Enda Boyle