Readers’ Poems Sept/Oct 23

by Northern Life

The Stockton Flyer


We shall make our way down to Stockton
The high street I have in mind.
The weather forecast is favourable
In fact, it is to be good sunshine.
Near the top end of the high street

You will see a plinth it stands so tall,
A large marble-type structure,
When you stand alongside
It makes you look small.

The high street is very long.
No rush, we have plenty of time,
One hour after midday
One o’clock and dead on time.

The bells begin to ring,
The top opens, she appears in bright sunshine,
Soon we see The Flyer
The bells, the steam, and the it’s bang on time!

We soon have the full story –
For six minutes, she steams away,
The sound is just amazing!
What a sight for midday!

Soon it is all over; she starts to retract
The bells are still ringing as she starts her journey back.
Soon it is all over, and time to move along
What a great sight to see, a crowd so strong.

If you have missed it today
Don’t think that’s your lot
For it all happens again tomorrow at one o’clock


You don’t cross my mind while I cross this country,
you don’t cross it because you fill it:
I think only of you
and how I must walk my way back to you.
There’s a heavy pack on my back,
a heavy weight of penitence on my heart.
Those bridges I burned
thinking I should stand alone,
I must rebuild them all,
gain forgiveness that’s earned.
Two hundred miles westward can’t be compassed
so I choose five of many bridges
that lay themselves down for travellers
along this route from sea to sea.
Their names resonate or humanise:
Wiske, Scabba Wath, Frank’s, Goody, Folly.
They bridge Swale, Eden, Derwent.
After each I post a card to you:
So sorry. Walking home to you.
Sheets of rain feed cascades.
Shivering heights, headwinds,
always the autumn headwinds that shake boughs,
scatter leaves like falling tears, blast my face.
This venture hurts. So it should — my body and mind
need pain like the pain I’ve caused.
Just now up to my groin in black bogwater,
no longer master of perseverance,
but master of pratfalls.
Wrote to you from Goody (ha!) Bridge,
soon to play my final card at Folly:
With you very soon. Please forgive.

After the Rain


The soil was covered
In a friendship of raindrops
And there was a smell,
A darkness of fertility,
A boldness of black strength.

Sea Horses


There are breakers at sea
white as new-falling snow,
shaped like horses,
they ride in the flow.
But the moon pulls the reins
and they answer the call,
racing towards
the old harbour wall.
And in day-trip heaven,
to the sound of hi-fi’s,
doused in flotsam,
their innocence dies.

In Yorkshire’s Bonniest Glen

Where five valleys converge
around a tittle-tattling brook.
That bestowed its name
upon this cathedral
to the age of steam.
Defiantly, concatenating
Batty Moss, in Yorkshire’s
bonniest glen. The smoked,
black limestone prickles
in winter’s mizzle, that
clothes its piers and arches.
Within the shadows
of Whernside and Ingleborough,
the spirits of those who died
and survived the making
of this iconic structure,
keep watch. Their strength,
bravery and resilience, binds
these stones of history
that no bureaucracy
or Doctor could kill.
All gone, but remembered
here. Their future settled,
the trains roll on.

Pendle Hill


Keep safe your memories, oh, proud Pendle Hill,
Preserve them well, for it is God’s will.
All things in life aren’t for us to know,
Only guess when seeds began to grow.

Adorned in summer, with pink heather anew,
So rampant, so wild and all covered with dew.
From morning to night, you stand so erect,
With life’s knowledge tucked into your world’s parapet.

With prowess, your paths freely roam your size,
Such beauty beholds for one’s weary eyes.
With witches galore and cauldrons alight,
Share so many secrets by day and by night.

On their broomsticks, they fly with cats in tow
Out into the night where some dare not go.
Somewhere out there where angels don’t tread,
Festooned with black hats upon their head.

Don’t be afraid of the spells they cast
From witches’ brews of herbs so vast,
They will not hurt you or make you cry,
Just make you strong as a hill so high.

Sleep now, Pendle, for the days been long,
Enjoy your dreams with joyous song,
For soon, there’ll be more feet that tread
Upon your tired and weary head.

The birds and bees the morn will bring,
A host of wondrous songs to sing.
They’ll scout for you from morning light
With dancing wings in star star-filled night.

A Plea to the Heavens


I asked the sun to give me warmth
and let me wallow in its heat,
but all it sent was darkened clouds
that dampened my spirits with sleet.

I asked the moon to shine on me
to disperse this earthly darkness,
as if to taunt it gave a sliver of light
which left me in a pit of blackness.

I asked the sun to lift my spirits
and give me happiness this day,
it glimpsed at me with a wink of its eye
and gave me its face of grey.

I asked the moon to send love
to my beloved across the sea,
and in response, I got a thunderclap
which caused me to freeze.

I asked these celestial bodies
why they hadn’t heard my plea,
but all they sent was night and day
yet nothing was guaranteed!

The Village


Candy-floss clouds weep
Over the Dale,
Sheep dot the fields –
Jumpers waiting to be knitted
As the cows seem to smile
At the thought.
Trees stand like wizards.Casting spells
On passers-by

Who hobble over cobbles
From the pub
Huddled in the high street.
A postman empties the pillar box
Like a clockwork toy.
Cold rain muttering down guttering.And grey-slate roofs
Of cottages
But the people inside
Are friendly and warm.

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NorthernLife Sept/Oct 23