English poetry

Poems in English


Any poets about or bored muses fancying a day out?

Rainy, windy, cold Leeds City Station

Half-way through its slow chaotic transformation

Contractors’ morning break, overalls, hard hats and harness

Flood McDonalds where I sip my tea and try to translate Valйry.

London has everything except my bardic inspiration

I’ve only to step off the coach in Leeds and it whistles

Its bravuras down every wind, rattles the cobbles in Kirkgate Market

Hovers in the drunken brogue of a Dubliner in the chippie

As we share our love of Joyce the Aire becomes the Liffey.

All my three muses have abandoned me. Daisy in Asia,

Brenda protesting outside the Royal Free, Barbara seeing clients at the C. A. B.

Past Saltaire’s Mill, the world’s eighth wonder,

The new electric train whisperglides on wet rails

Past Shipley’s fairy glen and other tourist trails

Past Kirkstall’s abandoned abbey and redundant forge

To Grandma Wild’s in Keighley where I sit and gorge.

I’ve travelled on the Haworth bus so often

The driver chats as if I were a local

But when the rainbow’s lightning flash

Illumines all the valleys there’s a hush

And every pensioner’s rheumy eye is rooted

On the gleaming horizon as its mooted

The Bronte’s spirits make the thunder crack

Three cloaked figures converging round the Oakworth track.

Haworth in a storm is a storm indeed

The lashing and the crashing makes the gravestones bleed

The mashing and the bashing makes the light recede

And on the moor top I lose my way and find it

Half a dozen times slipping in the mud and heather

Heather than can stand the thrust of any weather.

Just as suddenly as it had come the storm abated

Extremes demand those verbs so antiquated

Archaic and abhorred and second-rated

Yet still they stand like moorland rocks in mist

And wait as I do till the storm has passed

Buy postcards at the parsonage museum shop

Sit half an hour in the tea room drying off

And pen a word or two to my three muses

Who after all presented their excuses

But nonetheless the three all have their uses.

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Poem A FINE MADNESS - Barry Tebb