Starting Over

A poem written for a friend's dad who sadly passed away this year:

Car and the kerbside, our permanent goalposts.
Days in the sunshine can't come to a stop.
And in darkened window your dad holds a tea-towel;
Smiles at your overhead kicks. Spion Kop.

There in the kitchen, your biggest supporter,
Watches the game with one eye on the grill.
And though all your dreams be tossed up and blown,
His reflection remains in the window, still.

Still his reflection is there in the window;
Still his heart beats, as the grandchildren play.
He's there in the garden; he's there on the driveway;
He's there for the bedtimes and throughout the day.

And Lennon songs fill up the house with the past.
They ring through the rooms to dispel the pain.
And clasping the photograph forty years on,
You Imagine those two Starting Over again.

Published 28th Jul 2016 | Tributes

Bettisfield Remembered

Poem in progress for the forgotten Bettisfield miners of North Wales.

Too long in the dark, too long underground.
No tales from the Bettisfield Pit, no sound
From the deadly black seam or the scene of the blast
To reconnect present with past.

The Blackeyed Boys from the shelves of the Dee,
Under blanketing clouds pulled over the sea,
Took the deafening shaft and plunged from the light
For a lifetime of toil out of sight.

The crutters, the hewers, the trappers, half marrows,
Who mined the black diamonds and loaded the barrows
Were made from the north western earth and the sky
With coal on their skin and flint in their eye.
Scarred arms swung the picks that splintered the stone;
Blisters that cut through the skin and the bone;
For a pittance of pay lost in a raw hand,
They fired and lit up our land.

Pressure for millions of years drew the line
200ft down in the Bettisfield mine.
And their sweat and their blood on the rock left its stain
Where their pained conversations and stories remain.
But in light, no one spoke of the hardship down there:
The straining for breath and the venomous air.
The coated black lungs, desperation for space
Weren't marked on the Welsh miner’s face.

So remember our miners from pits now neglected -
Their images, stories and songs resurrected.
Recall that brave history y glowyr begun
And lift them back into the sun.

Published 25th Aug 2016 | Tributes