Poem of the North

Fifty years of the Northern Poetry Library

From Canto 3

Jigger

We ran down the jigger, past paint-peeled doors
that closed each tiny yard behind the back-to-backs;
we kicked and scarpered, but nothing happened:
no bugger in shirt sleeves came out shouting;
no prune-faced dog offered us its teeth;
no shrill voice screamed; no threats, no chase,
no scuffer bashing his boots on the flags.
What’s mischief for, if no one notices?

Later, such light transgressions yielded
to the more painful, practised wrongs

it is our triumph to excel at.

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