Poem of the North

Fifty years of the Northern Poetry Library

From Canto 5

Only dust

Our horizon had wheels. Tunnels emptied beneath our feet.
Coal seamed through our community like bone – its history
written on the leftover women, children and men.
Grandad grew roses – their beauty strange against his skin,
petals making angels against his rough coat. At night, his
stalks of rhubarb sang their growing songs, haunted the glass
with spindled ghosts – sat tart and sugared upon our tongues,
cutting through the stodge. Everything here was tied to the pits.

Their death was told on picket lines. There was only dust left.
I dreamed of Scarborough spilling in miniature

from the cliff. I saw the sand and seafront shops. I smiled.

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