Poetry Blog by J R Harris

What if: nightmares, angst and fears

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what is a dream; what is reality?

what is death; what’s on the other side?

it’s perhaps our vulnerability

our most distressing convictions

our most dreadful nightmares…


what if you die tonight?


how do we differentiate between

what is considered to be reality

and what is deemed to be a dream?

in what we assume to be the reality

is the actuality effectively a ...

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When God created Wiganers

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when the task of creating Wiganers

appeared on the agenda for God

I like to think he made us unique

strangely peculiar rather than odd


market traders, miners, mill workers

witty, welcoming and worldly wise

with a distinctive diet consisting of

apple crumble... and humble pies

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Kenny Turton was adorable but a touch odd

he’d always volunteer to sing at the Boys’ Club

and was forever a peculiarly entertaining lad

devious and a romancer but never bad


a likeable lad who in the 50s i briefly knew

but was an older peer that i could relate to

much later in life i heard he’d progressed

to literary status working for the press


eventually i graspe...

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Southport line III – 1969 (Blackberry Way, A Clockwork Orange, peril and the driver’s face)

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i hadn’t yet read A Clockwork Orange in ‘69

but i was 15 and the same age as Alex

and my ‘Blackberry Way’

was about to become

Alex’s 5th and 9th


i hadn’t yet been introduced to Alex’s classics

but i’d become obsessed with Beat Music

and in early nineteen-sixty-nine

The Move’s Blackberry Way

topped the UK charts


i hadn’t any of Alex’s psychopathic penchants


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Southport Line II – the 60s (last days of steam)

Houghton’s Lodge offered exceptional fishing

with legends of Jack the elusive monster pike

and young Wilky purportedly capturing a record perch

while neighbouring trains entertained between each strike


fishing was never a personal enchantment

but the nature and camaraderie proved paramount

and angling often merged with casual train-spotting 

fish to catch and steam trains...

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Southport Line I – mid 50s to early 60s (childhood)

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forever the daydreamer

since the dawn

of my being


daydreams presided

over schooling

and teachers rebuked


but never detrimental

to the dreamer

who flourished


never a dilemma

ever buoyant

never a concern


each evening

familiar daydreams

were trusted escorts


excepting night-time

when night-terrors

hijacked the dreams



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Lord and Sharman shoe factory; Pemberton

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i never liked making those soulless shoes

i never liked being constrictively enclosed

for eight hours a day

like a convicted prisoner with the blues

forced to pay his dues

but forever the masochist

i volunteered to even more daily hours of penal strife

to financially augment the restricted liberty of teenage life

blissfully after my longest four years

of oppression discr...

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Les Pennington had a cracking cricket bat

and it doubled as a bazooka which was good

it wasn’t one of those cheap efforts from Woolies

it was made from good mature willow wood


he’d got it from Kay’s which was quite ironic

as they sold mainly ex-army and military bits

i never dared ask where he got the money from

but he’d bought it second-hand for 10 and 6


each mor...

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Summer - Time

what happened to the long hot summers

of the ‘50s and ‘60s

what happened to the weather?


what happened to time slowly ticking

and school holidays

that always lasted forever?


i can guess what became of the weather

pollution, climate change

capitalism and environmental crime


but as deep as i dive into the depths of my mind

i still can’t fathom

who’s gu...

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The fools at the end of the Pier

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the fools at the end of Wigan’s pier

are progressively threatening its stability

and more alarmingly this outlandish breed

is compromising Wigan’s credibility

their once demographic insignificance

now grows like a worrying tumour

eating into Wigan’s meat-pie heart

like sinister Poe-esque dark humour


they are any and every gender

cultivated at a very early age


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who could resist what Susan had to offer?
even though she was peculiarly odd
but what other girl from Marsh Green 
would dig your garden over for ten bob?

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Mesnes Park; Wigan’s Jewel in the Crown

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the celebrated Mesnes Park 
has deservedly enjoyed much fame
and the green-less vainglorious 
out of the woodwork came
to assume key roles in this popular green game

the gardeners however
haven’t enjoyed much of the acclaim 
they are merely pawns in the game
but will always be given prominence 
(when things go wrong)
as scapegoats to take the blame

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Dust: an observation

never smells sweeter
than when
heavy raindrops
hit parched concrete

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Haigh Plantations: 1860 to 2017; games, nature and Phytophthora ramorum

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beneath a rich lofty canopy
lurked a sinister understory 
the wolf in sheep’s clothing
the unbecoming Rhododendron
that spiteful dominatrix 
in her leathery verdure
the one who abhors sweet lime
but delights in sour acidity 
the one who cajoles the beholder
while her acid tongue 
simultaneously poisons mother earth
her gaudy seductive blooms 
disguise her treachery
and once smelled of...

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The Westwood Cooling Towers – Execution Day

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that flawless diptych of minimalism
simplistic architectural precision
a colossal condiment set
an arresting landmark
once commanding respect
the sentry gateway 
guarding the trodden ceremonial
pulverised-fuel-ashed path
to Westwood’s curious
and unnatural landscape

those impeccable twins who were
Wigan’s Colossi of Memnon
were sadly and rarely respected
seldom treasured
their util...

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  • 2018 (15)

Recent Comments

Brian Maryon on Summer - Time (Sat, 3 Feb 2018 09:36 pm)

Brian Maryon on Lord and Sharman shoe factory; Pemberton (Sat, 3 Feb 2018 09:26 pm)

Brian Maryon on Karma (Sat, 3 Feb 2018 09:25 pm)

J R Harris on Karma (Fri, 2 Feb 2018 09:27 am)

Hannah Collins on Karma (Thu, 1 Feb 2018 07:14 pm)

J R Harris on Karma (Tue, 30 Jan 2018 10:30 am)

J R Harris on Summer - Time (Tue, 30 Jan 2018 10:27 am)

Frances Macaulay Forde on Summer - Time (Mon, 29 Jan 2018 03:04 am)

Frances Macaulay Forde on Karma (Mon, 29 Jan 2018 03:03 am)

J R Harris on Dust: an observation (Thu, 4 Jan 2018 11:34 am)

LEON STOLGARD on Dust: an observation (Wed, 3 Jan 2018 10:09 am)

J R Harris on The Westwood Cooling Towers – Execution Day (Tue, 2 Jan 2018 10:27 am)

raypool on The Westwood Cooling Towers – Execution Day (Mon, 1 Jan 2018 09:33 pm)

Stu Buck on The Westwood Cooling Towers – Execution Day (Mon, 1 Jan 2018 07:58 pm)


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