I almost drowned once down near the mill swimming the current of the Coquet three quarters of the way across my legs lost power against the undertow I’m lucky Peck kept his eyes on me as the river reeds wrapped around ankles my head bobbing up and down like a braeburn on bonfire night and the rest of the boys jumped back in like working-class Hasselhoffs and pulled me to the side they were much stronger swimmers than me
a quick rest and pat on the back spitting up some of the river then swigging back some calming Carling the realisation – dawned on me – I had to swim back facing a new fear head on because backstroke was no good I’m lucky I’ve got such great mates we swam back together like geese fly – in formation – reaching the riverbank’s safety and although my swimming didn’t improve that day my character did.
Thanks for taking the time to read my poem, an autobiographical piece of my younger days.
Hope you liked it and if you did, feel free to leave a comment.
Quid in the jukebox The Jam, Bowie, Queen, Elvis – Presley – not Costello
grass-green baize torn and twisted in places twenty pence a shot free on Saturday afternoon when it’s a fiver-a-man tournament winner takes all no chalk for the cues though
footy on the telly screens piracy definitely we don’t complain it’s the best pint in town and they do pork scratchings
they’ve got a bloke who does runs to the bookies backs himself to return the betslip in under 10 minutes he gets a drink either way
the old gagdies tell tales of when they worked the shipyards or some down the pits they shake your hands every time theirs brittle – scarred with hard graft and union strikes
sometimes it gets rowdy when the domino crowds in accusations of cheating to win a 2 quid pot it soon settles down like the best pint in town.
Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, inspired by weekends and evenings spent in the social club in my hometown, which are an important part of the North, unfortunately declining in recent years. If you get the chance, pay one a visit, and sign up with them depending on their membership requirements.
a dispassionate mound of glaucous ash the warmth lost ready to die out at any moment
a scattering of embers the reminder of warmth we shared when flames flickered in frivolity kissing and caressing kindling and coal when white,gold and ochre danced as strong as they could for as long as they could to the gentle chaotic rhythm of crackling shades of silver in the hearth silently whispering Live Life Like The Fire.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this poem and are having a great day.
I felt it was an insult that each new street was named after a different species of tree they chopped down a lasting dedication to rapid decimation of the ancient woodland and hedgerow their deaths were dealt so swiftly that the hawthorn berries didn’t even get time to bleed.
Now when I walk past Oak Avenue, Ash Drive & Beech Terrace each brimming with life I think of the bricks, mortar and glass I believe the woodland remains just in a different guise and the dedication isn’t an insult but a celebration of what came before that the trees that once thrived there are a solid foundation for new roots to form.
Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, feel free to leave a comment if you wish.
finding comfort in a chunky knit sweater and sherpa-lined socks hands clasped around my favourite mug the steamy scent of hot ginger wine waltzing in the air with the aroma of an oud wood candle while the crackle of beechwood burning on the tv soothes selflessly the hardest choice I have is deciding what book to get lost in.
the bronze leaves are tenderly hurtling to the forest floor a patchwork quilt of misfortune and malaise sewn and laid by rattling clunking gusts the ash, beech and birch succumb to their own stark beauty
This poem was originally published on my Instagram/Twitter to celebrate National Poetry Day
A cornflower sky littered haphazardly with spluttering wispy pearls housing an effortless sun watched over us as we dangled and dropped twigs of beech, ash and elm into the dawdling waters below our knees planted porous on the sandstone bridge absorbing some of its history our eyes followed the branches ferrying along the river stroking and slapping against limestone and basalt we were quiet and thoughtful wondering where they’d end up wondering where we’d end up and although sometimes silence can be deafening on that day the silent moments we shared only spoke of our serenity with each other.
I was 11 years old buying the Sun on behalf of my Dad anticipating 50p worth of sports mixture with the change
a boy i recognised my sister’s age 7 years old trying to buy 20 Silk Cut and 2 litres Cider on behalf of his Dad struggling under the weight of expectation
a man 40-ish years old trying to provide for his family of 6 a newsagent eager to please his patrons to be welcomed into the arms of the community his journey long from Bangladesh to Britain via marriage and military service looking a blend of bemusement and sadness at the boy trying to buy cigarettes and alcohol who he turns away from his counter
a man 50-ish years old reeking of addiction to tabs and cheap booze storming the shop firing slurred slow deliberate insults and asking “do you know who i am“ irked by the response of “yes a thug and a bad father, we dont sell alcoholand tobacco to children“ it was then I witnessed racism first hand shock absorbed in my young brain stood like a hostage the tirade continued the threat of a firebomb to the newsagent and his family the smell eventually leaving when he couldn’t achieve his demands
me, a boy of 11 buying the Sun and 50p worth of sports mixture with the change apologising for someone else’s actions that I didn’t understand receiving a wink and a sad smile I ran home to deliver the newspaper and the news of what happened to my Dad
My Dad then in his mid-30’s a butcher by trade the sight of violence and blood known to him sat stoically on the sofa listening to my recap of events crinkling the pages between fingers stained with ink of yesterday’s news providing words of wisdom “be kind to those who deserve your kindness scum always rises, but it always ends up skimmed and discarded, remember that, learn how to recognise and skim out hatred and you’ll be alright“ followed by “can I have a couple of sports mixture“ I gave him the bag.
This poem is based on a shocking morning trip to the Newsagent just around the corner from our house.
Most of the time there was a real togetherness in our council estate, but on rare occasions, a sinister underbelly came to the fore.
Thanks for reading, I’d love to know your thoughts,
Taking a carefree stroll through an inviting burrow of oak, ash, cedar, elm and yew I allow myself to talk to the trees and travel through time the history stored in trunks and roots is phenomenal whispered secrets shared by the world filtered through canopies of bronze, emeralds and golds could fill all the libraries in all the world woodland sentinels silently observing passers-by witnessing the same litany of mistakes made by multiple generations the main one being that your present is already your past and the future is now.
This is something I’ve learned by talking to trees while travelling through time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this poem, inspired by wandering in the woods and listening. I’d love to know your thoughts.