Above time’s wishing well,
the reflections of childhood
call on every character who trod
the warm stones of those roads;
calling to ask: where are you now?
Every stone in periphery’s eye
calls down childhood’s village days,
where are you now?
The colours on the oiled water
draining the white gutters of the
tears that fell under the slag tips,
or ran in the dereliction of hope.
In every sulphur culvert,
in every trespass on the land
of the factory owner’s deep pockets.
The toil of youth ground down to
pub smoking hackhards,
dead on their feet.
And still love’s lemon juices flowed
in the old songs - as they are doing still;
but then they were the misty eyes behind
which all the pulls of life conspired to
lay together under the moon’s sheets,
in silence finger tipped.
The knowing of the walked streets as the
vein’s back hand down all the
‘no you cannot’ days, when
‘we bloody well will’ days tore
hope into shreds, and left no truth in one’s
second glance at each other’s recognition.
How these images melt in memory’s furnace,
nostalgia’s pastiche of every smile that
turned everything on its head and relearnt
that the lump in the throat, that every held breath,
every feeling of nowness, every spooning couple
that walked that walk of time towards their time,
This tattoo is grimed with the cinders of ambition,
is penned in the abattoir fields,
is waiting upon the end of these days,
reborn in nostalgia, but dying in memories
of the good old days.
See this village hanging on the slag tips,
throbbing to industry’s engine, the
the doorstepped people twisting
fate’s tourniquet, tighter and bloodless
tighter on the artery of their doom.
Boom, boom, boom, the iron men hammer
their bread and dripping, billycan days,
looking down to the day’s end and
the tomorrow of that doom’s own clock.
The boundary condition of slag’s black hole,
six pit’s well where a dropped stone never
arrived; where all hillsides above the village
drop down to the river’s escape, to the railway’s
Such it is.
Such an awful heaven,
such an awful hell,
such it was then,
and always will be.