Recent Readers’ Poems
by Northern Life
People say us northern folk, don’t know how to rhyme. These poems prove that wrong, yours could be here too next time!
Read This and Decide
BY JULIET BROWN
Our climate is changing,
Yet Earth’s people stand still.
Preferring ignorance over accountability,
We swallow the least bitter of two pills.
The story, once regarded as mere prophecy
Depicts how humanity, in its own self-stupidity,
Is destined to disappear.
Now the likelihood of your children having a planet left
rapidly decreases each year.
The inevitability of this is down to us only,
Because we stopped viewing our precious Earth
as something holy.
This global calamity,
Holds a lamp directly on our society
-one with an eco-friendly bulb of course!
-because that alone will mean
you’re a planet saving tour-de-force!
We kill, fell and destroy anything found in our way,
We press our fingers all over nature
muddying her more each day.
So read this and decide
Whether we should continue these lies
To each other.
See with your own eyes
What planet you will uncover
When you realise
We’re all undermining our Mother Gia
Sentencing her to die.
I Can Survive
BY PETER JUDSON
Resident at Bancroft House, a charity set up to help veterans in need
I once hit rock bottom,
And didn’t know where to turn
I was out of control,
And I was a person of concern
Things happened over time,
And I wasn’t in the right frame of mind.
Then something clicked,
It was me I had to find
I upped and left,
And I had to move ahead
I moved away to push forward,
And it’s better off than being dead
I got support,
And now I’m feeling great
Healthier Heroes sorted me out,
And now I’m not someone I hate
Time to move forward,
And be passionate about me and my life,
Wow I feel amazing,
And that is through a lot of sacrifice
So, I thank Healthier Heroes,
And now I have the drive
I’ve realised now that I am strong,
And despite everything
I CAN SURVIVE
An Eye For A Bargain
BY DAVID BUXTON
I’m a chap with a nose for a bargain,
As most of my friends will attest.
I won’t buy a pig in a poke, though, you know –
I’ll only cough up for the best.
I were sitting in t’ local a few weeks ago,
Just minding my business that night,
When a bloke in a raincoat came into the pub
And asked to sit down, all polite.
Now I’m not one for prejudice – let’s get that straight –
And I’ll play anybody at darts,
So I gave ‘im a nod and ‘e gave me a bow –
I could tell ‘e were not from these parts.
I would guess ‘e were Polish or Czech or Slovak,
As ‘is English were not all that good,
And ‘e stammered a bit when ‘e offered a drink,
Being friendly, I said that I would.
Now I couldn’t just sit there and sup this free beer,
Saying nowt would be bound to offend,
So I spoke very slowly and loudly and said,
“What’s tha doin’ in Manchester, friend?”
‘e gave me a comical sort of a look
And said, “There’s no reason to shout.
Although I’m a foreigner, I can still ‘ear.
Just talk normal and I’ll work it out.”
So we sat for a while there in silence,
Until ‘e ‘ad finished ‘is first.
“Like another?” I asked, all obliging.
“Good idea”, ‘e replied, “I’ve a thirst.”
Then ‘e leant forward over the table
And said, “Please don’t misunderstand.
I can tell you’re a man of some standing,
Who knows what is what in this land.”
I modestly nodded agreement
And said ‘e were right about that.
“I’m in import and export”, ‘e added,
“You might call me a top Eurocrat.”
I must say this description impressed me,
Although really I ‘adn’t a clue
What a Eurocrat did for a living
Out in Brussels or Strasbourg – ‘ave you?
“I’m empowered to make you an offer,”
‘e said with ‘is voice kept down low.
“‘ave you thought of acquiring an engine?
There’s one on the market, I know.”
“What sort of an engine would that be?”
I casually asked, just to prove
‘e were dealing with someone experienced,
Who would wait before making a move.
“It’s a classical steam locomotive,
In full working order as well,
But you’ll have to be quick if you want it –
Lots of people have asked me to sell.”
‘e opened his raincoat and pulled out
Some photos that clearly displayed
The engine from different angles,
And showed it were really well made.
Now I don’t beat about any bushes,
When thinking of closing a deal,
But I couldn’t come straight out and buy it –
I ‘ad to make caution seem real.
So I asked lots of questions about it –
Its length and its ‘eight and its power.
And ‘ow many wheels underneath it,
And ‘ow many miles to the hour?
This last question caused ‘im some trouble –
‘e seemed unfamiliar with miles
And told me in them kilometres
They use outside our British Isles.
‘aving shown ‘im that I was an expert,
We talked for some time about price
And finally reached an agreement
On delivery of said merchandise.
‘e told me I drove an ‘ard bargain –
‘e’d sold it for less than ‘e meant,
Gave a bow, shook my ‘and and smiled sadly,
Then fastened ‘is raincoat and went.
Four days after making transaction,
I answered the door late at night.
A bloke stood outside with my engine –
A truly magnificent sight!
It were bigger than I’d been expecting,
And it didn’t require that much nous
To realise this great locomotive
Were too big to fit in the ‘ouse.
“It’ll ‘ave to go into the garage,”
I said, “it’ll be a tight squeeze.
“No problem at all”, said the fellow,
“Just open the doors for me, please.”
‘e were right, as far as the width went,
And also regarding the ‘eight,
But the engine stuck out quite a distance
And could give someone passing a fright.
A day or two later in t’paper,
An article filled me with dread.
The folk at ‘ungarian railways
Were missing an engine, it said.
So when next I were sat in the local
And the chap in the raincoat came in,
I acted all cold and evasive
When I ‘eard ‘is new sales pitch begin.
Said a crane was this week’s special offer,
And would I be buying again?
I told ‘im I wouldn’t do business –
And what would I do with a crane?
(Based on a short story by Wolfgang Hildesheimer)
Ode To Block Paving
BY DAVID WALKER
The trouble you find wi block paving
is its joints can get filled up wi seeds.
Some can come from flowers and shrubs,
but many you’ll find are from weeds.
They’re ok while they’re lying dormant,
but when they are starting to sprout,
if you want block paving that’s pristine,
then you must think about getting them out.
Now according to gardening experts,
that is if they are to be believed,
to ensure pristine patios and driveways,
there are a few ways that this can be achieved.
1. A good spray wi some potent herbicide
will soon see their life quickly ended,
but any environmentalist will tell you
that chemicals aren’t recommended.
2. Or, you can get a long-handled scraper
to make sure each plants growth is stunted,
but often, in less than an hour you find,
the blade on the scraper is blunted.
3. It’s said that the best way to ensure the invaders
are quickly sent into retreat,
is to purchase an electric flame gun
and give them a blast of fierce heat.
However, with all of the methods I’ve listed,
there is one thing I must make very clear,
you just cannot stop Mother Nature,
and a new crop will be growing there next year!
BY BRENT GARNER
“Do you have the key?” I asked
the signalman at Blea Moor.
“Nay,” he said, “there int a door!”
Just a shell of once a home,
a broken crag with time to tell
of haven on a wind-whipped fell.
Here a hell-mouth swallowed men,
choked them into clay-clagged sleep,
ground to limespar, spent like sheep.
Rail was king, the outcome a whale
“a nose in Settle, a tail in Carlisle”
a line with blood in every mile.
Shanty towns grew like festering scabs
with barrel-wheel carts, unhansom cabs,
“Salt Lake City” and “Batty Wife Hole”
where parsons preached of pearls and swine
of aces, fights and country wine,
and “Jericho”, too, as doomed as its name.
Sauropods plundered, then humankind
scarred the dales with mills and mines.
Now beauty and leisure remain, defined
by travellers with a curlew view.
Romanesque arches lift the tracks
over drumlins and seeping bracks
for steam heritage merry-go rides
through fells and dales and wide-eyed skies;
walkers, snappers, and Gretna Green brides.
“Some idiots’re camping,” the signalman said.
We remained schtum, his stove dried our socks.
A cockroach scaled the face of the clock
Everybody Has A Hobby
BY PETER LONGTHORNE
Everybody has a hobby,
to pass the time away,
My wife is an avid knitter,
every single day.
My daughter collects obscenities,
on paper, in a tin,
When she posts on social media,
she likes to slip one in.
My mum collects her memories,
rom times from way back when,
She recalls them when I visit,
she feels alive again.
My sister is a baker,
baking fancy cakes
Her husband, overweight,
eats everything she makes.
My neighbour’s thing is wedding dresses,
he keeps them in his shed,
His wife thinks he’s a weirdo,
at least that’s what she said.
Me, I’m just an amateur,
I have no serious goals,
But in my humble way,
I am a collector of holes.
I have fat ones and thin ones,
some that have been coloured in,
I have cardboard ones,
paper ones, even one made of tin,
I have three plastic ones
and one made from a flag,
I keep them all, for safety,
in a Sainsbury’s carrier bag.
NorthernLife July/Aug 2022