Poem of the North

Fifty years of the Northern Poetry Library

From Canto 3

Depleted stock

I look behind at everything I felt was safe –
boring, as I used to moan. Rented bricks, laddering
tight terraces with fretful cracks, plastered back to health
with licks and promises. Steps scrubbed clean each week; brass
polished to reflect the purity of soul; doors ajar to trumpet
trust. Every dinner preordained by day till Friday fish;
telly set in stone. Once I’d left the pit, I gulped down
fresher air, frittering my coal stocks in the south.

The miners’ cottages are matched in Antique Mist,
garden storage where the outside lavs had been.

I see the smoke rise from the new wood-burning stoves and smile.

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