Poem of the North

Fifty years of the Northern Poetry Library

From Canto 5

A stag on the borders counties line

You may track us wild, rutting among pulled up lines,
buttercupped in Summer on embankments of unlinkingness,
beside your roads paying their toll of tarmac to Winter.
Each pothole would prise laughs from the navvies, steam
hissing from sinews; each clack of a pick like the click
of a kettle. Not that they’d know one end of a plugged-in
boiler from the other. The tea they supped was served up
with a whistle from a funnel’s sooted black mouth.

An arm bridging borders, built by might, set with spit,
undone by slight of soft hand and calculating digits.

We drank as the shoreline lapped at Plashetts’ last stand.

View poem in Canto