Before computers,
When there were factories
On London’s Edgware Road
With boards outside
Asking for staff.
Joan thought, ‘Filing clerk’,
Was something she could do
And got the job at Emerson & Co.

Her first day was spent
In a dusty office – files
Up to the ceiling!
At other desks, old men
Were bent over handwritten work.
Often one would appear
At her desk, with a file
To be put in alphabetic order.

The oldest man – the one
In charge, asked her,
“Everything alright?”
The pile on her desk grew higher.
She ate a sandwich.
Everyone lunched at their desks.
She rose to her feet.
“Everything alright?” repeated the
Man in charge, peering at her
Through black rimmed spectacles,
His bald head gleaming.

“Yes, just going to the toilet.”
She picked up her handbag
And left.
She walked through the main
Entrance, past the board
With its advert for ‘Filing clerk
Required’ still visible.
And said, “Just as well!
Sod that for a lark!”


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