Poetry and Private Hire

by Laura Storey

“My friend and her husband were big Leeds United fans and, when they lost, I sent them a condolence card, inside I wrote:

There was fun and games at Elland Road, the fans were quite delighted, 

until a team from London town 

came and stuffed United! 

“I thought, if I could write that, I could write more. I wrote a lot of poems for the amusement of the taxi fraternity. I’m like their resident poet.”

A cabbie for 40 years, Eric has been deeply inspired by the Keighley locals he has driven to weddings, birthdays and funerals, so much so, he writes poetry about them, taking material from the everyday lives of those he meets. His poem, Ballad of a Hypochondriac, was inspired by a young lass whose grandad was afflicted by terrible ailments that only existed within the man’s mind.

History seeps into Eric’s writing: “a lot of my poems are about the history of Keighley, the mills. My family on my mum’s side have been in Keighley since the beginning of the 1600s. I walk round town thinking ‘I wonder if that building was there when my fifth great grandfather was walking on the streets’ and write poems with that in mind.”