Poetry Blog by Ian Whiteley

Bevin Boy

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Bevin Boy

 

Ernest Bevin got his pound of flesh

as I sucked on my Woodbine,

one of the ‘lucky’ ten percent

who were standing there in line

waiting to be conscripted -

but they decided to assign

me to a living hell

and send me down the mine.

 

So I toiled for years in darkness

and breathed in black diamond dust,

until my back was broken

along with all the t...

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bevin boyblack lung diseasecoal miningconscriptionsacrificeWW2

Above The Light Of The Morning Star

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Above The Light Of The Morning Star

 

Pity the dark eyed man who chases sleep.

Yet, pity more, the man who finds that realm

and dances with his friends, long gone,

then wakes to find such loneliness in his heart.

 

A father’s hand laid gently on his shoulder

or a mothers kiss to say farewell on leaving.

These are the magic lanterns

of the ghosts that are their ghosts.

...

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Sister Magdalena

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Sister Magdalena

 

alabaster skin

cold to the touch

pinched

            bloodless

            lips

 

eyes

the colour of duck eggs

piercing

            your

            soul

 

wisps

of taut hair

creeping

            from

            her scalp

 

cross on chain

hanging from

scrawny

            bird

            throat

 

rosa...

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Under August Skies

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Under August Skies

 

We sat around the table Mam

but none of us got fed,

for the Corn Law has been biting

and we don’t have any bread.

The mill wheels have stopped turning,

so we haven’t any jobs

and we’re under-represented

by the parliamentary nobs.

 

So we gathered in the field Mam,

with our banners and our flags,

and the soldiers sat in lines

with their...

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1819corn lawmanchesterparliamentary reformpeterloo massacrestate murderuprising

Screaming Blue Murder

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Screaming Blue Murder

 

I’m screaming Blue Murder

at the state of the nation

and how we blame our ills

on Muslims and immigration -

talking about people

as though they’re an infestation.

I’m screaming Blue Murder.

 

I’m screaming Blue Murder

at the Banker’s greed

and the people on the street

who we can’t seem to feed -

the way that we trample

on sexuali...

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anti-Austerityanti-Fascistanti-Toryfake newsgovernment policypro-communitypro-labour

discarded

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discarded

 

you could see right through me

a swift pick up

a gulp

a quickie

then off to do your thing

 

feeling used and dirty

then discarded

trodden on

kicked around

left to feel like rubbish

 

the slow decline

the breakup

falling apart

going to pieces

 

feeling so small

so insignificant

as if no one knows

you’re there at all

 

...

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love affairoceanplastic bottlesplastic wastepollutionthrown away

Nearest & Dearest

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I don't usually do pre-amble, but in this case it's necessary. I took part in a city team slam last night where one of the requirements was to 'roast' the opposition city in a warm up exercise.

In West Yorkshire, particularly in Rugby League, one of the historic rivalries is between Leeds and my home city of Wakefield - we co-exist just 7 miles apart. I was asked to 'roast' the city of Leeds - ...

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And Now The Weather

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And Now The Weather

 

Rain drops smudge the inky page,

snowflakes on the talk shows,

the sun bakes hard the daily news.

That’s the way the wind blows.

 

Lightning strikes the gossip columns,

thunder rustles print rows,

All Hail the brave reporters.

That’s the way the wind blows.

 

Sleet and mizzle obscure truth,

pressure builds in highs and lows

from dull ...

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common sensenanny statenewspriorityreportingweather

blown it

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blown it

 

remember when you were a kid

and you got some tracing paper

and wrapped it round that thing

you use on your hair –

and blew to get a tune out of it?

a sort of cross between

a rasp and a kazoo

rasping and

kazzooing

making music

that irritated

and annoyed

your whole family

 

well

last night

during a particularly boring

football matc...

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blowing itcomb & papereliminationi'll get me coatmaking musicworld cup

Red Herrings

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Red Herrings

 

From Dealey Plaza to Salisbury

and all points in between,

the Bear has been the symbol

for the west to vent its spleen.

“There’s reds under the bed”

often heard, but rarely seen,

while a pumpkin president

conducts his grizzly Halloween.

 

From Novichok to Lee Harvey

the red herrings abound,

drifting through our freedoms

but hardly ever found...

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fake newslack of proofpantomime villainred herringsocialism v communism

The Weeping Angel

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The Weeping Angel

 

She passed this way and tended to our pain,

stayed by our beds and whispered in our ears,

administered our wounds and eased our fears -

telling us that we would be home again.

Once, in her hands, I saw pendant and chain,

I will remember that for many years,

an angel weeping solitary tears

that made me think of the oncoming rain.

She sent it to her ...

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miltonic sonnetnellie spindlerpasschendaelewakefieldwar heroweeping angel

A Wound That Never Heals

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A Wound That Never Heals

 

It hurts me

when a you shaped hole

appears in the cosmos,

where there is

an absence of colour,

where the sound

scrapes along,

where the light

is masked by

dense grey mist.

 

That’s where

I miss you

the most.

 

When it rains

a greasy rain,

when the cracked bell

clangs,

when the planets

are misaligned.

 

...

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There Are No Angels Here

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There Are No Angels Here

 

Scraping around the vipers nest,

flaming swords and thrusting spear,

black spiders scuttle to the feast

but there are no angels here.

 

The dragon crawls into their veins,

hallucinogenic ecstasy or fear.

The demon bares his fangs to bite

and still there are no angels here.

 

The first-born rounded up and caged,

harvesting the mother...

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americacorruptionTrumpus foreign policy

Strange Fruit

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Strange Fruit

 

“what is beautiful?”

asks Eliza

for she thinks

that she is not

because they tell her

she is not

 

“why are they hurtful?”

as if the outside

somehow sullies

what is inside

and insinuates the sour

to what is sweet

 

“why do they ridicule?”

the size the shape

the roughness of my skin

the growths

the fact my spine

Is out of...

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beauty in the eye of the beholderbody shaming metaphordisability metaphorfruituglyvegetables

Lost In Translation

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Lost In Translation

 

I was there to help you

when you needed my advice,

I faced my brothers bullets -

was prepared to pay the price

of ostracism

in my fathers land

because I fought for justice

and decided to make a stand

against the corrupt message

of the terrorist breed.

I wanted to scourge my land

of their demon seed.

 

So I stood at checkpoints

a...

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afghan translatorsafghanistanfailed policytranslatorsuk amnestyuk government

ðə króz ləmɛ́nt

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ðə króz ləmɛ́nt

 

(tékən frə́m ‘the bʊ́k ə́v crows’)

 

kró stǽnd ən fíld

sɪ́ŋ kró sɔ́ŋ

tú hjúmən ɪ́r

sáwnd rɔ́ŋ

 

koww koww koww

 

kró blǽk ə́v wɪ́ŋ

kró blǽk ə́v bón

kró blǽk ə́v hárt

kró só əlón

 

áj hǽd brə́ðər blǽk

bə́t brə́ðər blǽk ɪ́z gɔ́n

tékən báj ðə wɪ́ntər

hɪ́r máj sǽd kró sɔ́ŋ

 

“stick mǽn

...

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The Beast Beneath The Beck

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The Beast Beneath The Beck

 

The beck at Westgate End is full of weeds,

its water is a muddy shade of brown,

confused ducks die within anaemic weeds

as sunken shopping trolleys pull them down.

Sometimes you hear a cold slithering splash,

as though some ancient creature has slid in

to feast upon the centuries of trash.

Who knows what evils are contained within?

 

It...

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fantasyShakespearean Sonetwakefield beckwstgate

Windsor Street

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Windsor Street

 

No bunting flutters in the breeze,

no boys and girls, dressed up so neat,

with not a scratch upon their knees.

There are no flags on Windsor Street.

 

There are no parties in the yard,

the sandwiches will hold no meat.

They will send no greetings card

‘from the residents of Windsor Street’.

 

There are no beds of scented flowers,

there are no...

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anti-royalistcelebrityhaves & have notspoorrichroyal weddingsocial equality

Sunset Over Lupset (August 1968)

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Sunset Over Lupset (August 1968)

 

Lupset sunsets smelled of bonfires,

undercut with new mown grass,

wild mint by the kitchen window,

treasures in the strawberry patch.

 

Father sat with pint of shandy,

The mower cooling in the shade,

the rake stowed by the garden shed,

the kids with sparkling lemonade.

 

Summer sun dips on the estate

dragging shadows from th...

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childhoodcouncil estatefamilygardeninghomesummer

This Is The News

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This Is The News

 

You know that there are statistics

waiting to be displayed

when a BBC reporter

stands to the left of a brick wall -

and when the report’s about finance

and they’re stood out in the rain,

you know they’re going to make a pun

about saving for a rainy day.

 

When did the news become a vehicle

for cheap shots and sound-bites?

Where young report...

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celebrityfake newsliesnewsnews reportingnone newsreporters

Daily Howl

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Daily Howl

 

A quiet boy -

he painted rainbows,

got lost in the words

of ancient poets,

spoke with respect,

offered up his seat

and his place in the world

to the unfortunates.

 

He smiled,

he laughed,

he spoke in words

of love and peace

with passion

and humility.

His voice

a pacifier.

 

Sometimes,

when the world was cruel,

he cried

...

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assasinationbeautydestructiondreamslennonlovepeace

Painkiller

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Painkiller

 

This world is brutal in its bitter way,

destroying beauty, tarnishing the good,

Hurting the carers, harming those who would

do better with their lives each passing day -

those who, despite all that the doctors say,

take back some control – if only they could

get up from where they drown beneath the flood

of good intentions. So today I pray:

when you’re hu...

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depressiondrugsease the painhelplovepetrarchan sonnetrecovery

To That Person Who Chips In To Finish A Crossword For You

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To That Person Who Chips In To Finish A Crossword For You

 

It is much harder

To answer all but one clue

Than the missing last

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completioncrosswordfinal cluehaikushow off

Pub Quiz Theory

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Pub Quiz Theory

 

Albert Einstein got an i-pad,

flicked the switch on – turned off his brain,

played Candy Crush and Donkey Kong -

was never quite the same again.

He won a quiz night at the pub

by Googling facts and anagrams

and when the music round came up

he slyly swiped to get Shazzam.

He became the talk of the town -

a brainy bastard – all could see,

but his...

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cheatingeinsteinpub quizpub quiz cheatswhat if

Let The Night Fall

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Let The Night Fall

 

Let the night fall and cover us

with heavy molasses sleep

that makes our bodies

sink into soft linen sheets.

 

Clouds of pillows

swirling round

our dream filled heads.

 

Let the night fall and still

the howling creatures

clawing at the doors

of our subconscious..

 

Folds of duvet

cushioning

the ravages of life.

 

Let ...

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healingpeacefulrelaxsleepthe night

The Collector & The Collected

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The Collector And The Collected

 

I keep it

In case I need it

Or in case

I want to read it again

 

I keep it

Because it sounds like

Everything

I’ve ever done

 

I keep it

Because I did it

And I want to

Relive it

 

I keep it

Because it looks nice

In a nineteen seventies

Kind of vibe

 

I keep it

Because you gave it

To me

On a ...

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collectingcollectorhoardhoarding

Back To The Park

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Back To The Park

 

It’s mid July,

a summer’s day.

School is just

a memory away.

We lay on grass

and watch the sky

and count the clouds

as they pass by.

We talk of bands

we’d like to see -

Led Zeppelin, Quo,

Sabbath and Free.

Insects buzz,

a distant bark,

children playing

In the park.

You turn to me

and kiss my lips

and move in close,

h...

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deathlosslovememoriessummerwinter

Eostre

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Eostre

 

Not the cross or the thorns

or the blood or the nails,

not the spear or the whip

or the rumble of stones

from the mouth of a tomb.

 

Not the hatred and bigotry,

the small minded hypocrisy

of this clan or that clan

whose father is biggest

or most feared or cherished.

 

Not the myth and the fable

espoused by blind acolytes

heaven bent on venge...

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alternative viewEasterEostremythPaganpeace

A Memory Of Rhinoceroses

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A Memory Of Rhinoceroses

 

they were bigger than a house

and had heads the shape of cars

horns

I think

four of them

or maybe more

one was hooked like a sabre

they didn’t have genitals

that’s why they died out

I think

couldn’t procreate

you see

their flesh tasted of pork

or maybe beef

I’m not sure

and they used to farm them

in Kent

or possibl...

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extinctionfalse memorylast northern white rhinosave the rhinouneducated

Elbow Yard

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Elbow Yard

 

In Elbow Yard the walls are thin

between this world and the next.

We communicate through clairvoyants

because we couldn’t  handle text.

But that’s all right mate,

that’s pretty cool,

you didn’t like clowns

and I’m the fool.

 

In Elbow Yard the darkness reigns

and death dances out of sight

ready to drag us to his ballroom,

illuminated in pale g...

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exitfalse hopefinal framefriendshipgoodbyesloss

Unwanted

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Unwanted

 

I sit upon a judgement chair

And watch the lights

And hear the sounds

That emanate from over there

Where broken hopes

And dreams abound

 

You pay me well

But do not want me

Sitting there where you could sit

Taking up your place in hell

Amongst the blood

and tears and shit

 

I came from Spain

To ease the pressure

As hospitals began to...

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brexitforeign nursesICUNHS

Sacred Path

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Sacred Path

 

we walked the ancient path together

where ancestors had worn the land

into a waypoint to the barrow

 

carefully observing rituals and customs

under azure skies we stumbled on our way

across this land of Albion

 

the hops the wheat the barley

bowing heads in solemn recognition

of the passing of souls

 

as we walked we talked of many things

...

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afterlifebeliefburialdeathfriendshipgriefjourney of lifelossritual

ameriKKKan trilogy version 2.0

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amerikkkan trilogy v.2.0 (MUSIC VERSION)

can be listened to on the following link)

https://soundcloud.com/the-man-at-the-back-1/amerikan-trilogy-v20

(1) USMF
When the KKK and the Kremlin
Are sharing their vodka and rye
When redneck mutherfuckers
are making Lady Liberty cry
When The land of the free is walled in
So pesky Mexicans can’t get by
That’s the day the rest of us
Watches A...

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