a mining village, South Yorkshire, the year George Orwell set his novel.
For Luke Kelly, 1940 – ‘84
Folk in these villages recall what kicked
off here, the younger miners well into
their fifties, different people now and yet,
like DNA, the lesson learned endures:
“No tick,” a grocer’s daughter stuck pre-war,
the stink, One Nation, enemy within,
Big Brother double-think, Judiciary
condoning bobbies flouting Common Law.
I’m alright Jacks, good family men from miles
away, strangers on overtime, sixteen
again, no quarter, social cleansing, “Fit
the buggers up!”, invading real estate,
smash locked front doors, make hay, trash furniture,
stop clocks, kids “Bastards”, housewives “Filthy whores!”
A nerd in praise of quiet provincial towns
I love small market towns, those gentled by
ring roads and miles from motorways, where high
streets amble, side routes, losing thread, bemuse,
quaint frontages weave in, breathe out, beguile,
each happy accident resplendent with
hindsight, dank alleys duck ‘n’ dive between
distressed old burgages, all similar,
never the same, sniffy, deprived of light.
Find cobble squares, where steeple-heeled it girls
are hobbled, old folk totter, stallholders,
their smiles like cracks in flags, are on the make,
behind tired signs, cramped tea rooms, charity shop,
estate and travel agents, whiff of ghost
wigmaker, druggist, draper, silversmith.