Poetry Blog by Ralph Dartford

This Beeston Morning

One magpie,
Beeston's little park
just outside work.

I remember the rhyme
and I’ll take its sorrow
with a cigarette.

The memory
of this morning’s
barely dressed little girl.

Leading the rattled man
to a derelict Holbeck pub. 
Its heroin loneliness.

I’ve slept in these rooms.
Their smoke, their foil.
Their needle numbs.

Two magpies now.
A sun breaking through.
I’ve known ...

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It will get better, some say. 
It was one of those bird

days, when they all came 
to lodge, outstayed their 

welcome, hopped into every room, 
fluttered my thoughts, action, 

even my food. At bedtime, music 
played from the radio. Telling 

the things I did to earn hatred, 
from the four and the twenty more.


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Socialist Cocaine

There ain’t no such thing
as socialist cocaine.

You may be one of those 
who buys sustainable clothes,
fair trade food, the Big Issue.
Once cried for Mogadishu, but 
at the weekend went ‘atishoo’.

There ain’t no such thing
as socialist cocaine.

You march against oppression, 
but love a Friday night session.
You talk of right wing wrongs,
singing the Republic Songs, 
hate the dro...

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And It's Over To History For The Weather

Live through this,
called useless as a kid.
A cunt, flat footed,
friend of a Yid.

Live through this,
raped in my teens.
“I want to suck a cock, boy,
take off your fuckin’ jeans.”

Live through this,
“You’ll never be a Dad.”
Wank into a specimen jar,
until half blind, going bad.

Live through this,
a crack pipe and alone.
Ring, ring, "Help me please!"
Always broken phones.


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Nineteen and the Mermaids

Found after a storm
by a walker out on his own
after a Christmas lunch for 
one was a sand letter and
three pairs of shoes
which were in truth
unbefitting for terrain
such as this.
He read with interest
the swept italics
two or three times,
written with strong fingers
he noted keenly.
No wonder he was 
alone with his parents
and these passions.
He charged the merry wind
to t...

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Other Blizzards

Thin snow, small accumulations.
The six thirty forecast is 
on the payroll of the devil. 

My left boot ankle deep,
the right up to my calf.
A drift climbs my lenses.

I find home through memory 
alone. it’s a dangerous place 
for me to be, memory, alone.

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An Adonis Outside Unity Works

It’s March, it’s snowing. 
But somehow I think 
that if the sun breaks

we’ll see bare chested 
men parade Westgate 
as if Greek gods

flexing non existent muscles, 
their stomachs held in,
northern teeth exposed.

Whilst a plough grits 
last night’s kebab meat 
and knickers for posterity.


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Dreams of Children

Walking up the hill to the poetry class,
talking to myself as if a mad man, of how
tonight I will encourage the students
to write vivid and historical verse.

I’m trying to remember the words
to Strange Fruit and also to turn
my willpower over to a god of my
own understanding. It’s hard work.

I note the hope of cheap Christmas lights
that pulse the November houses. The miners
hours lo...

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Buttershaw. South Bradford

Buttershaw, her love spreads. On
summer days, melted and translucent,
she’s a glistened river. Her grace, a
keenness for peace, can hush restless
children to fall asleep on filthy sofas, a
sighed drift down to Mandalay’s shore.

In the churches of Sunday morning,
she’ll pray for purity, tinned fruit and
custard. For those as broke as power,
she’ll steal from the shop girls on Boltby,

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Recovery Song

Dear friends.

This morning
I cut myself

A canal
of blood
drifted from
my chin.

I let it
heal gently.

A miracle
in the

There were
after the drugs
and the damned
had left.

self loathing
led me
by the hand
through to
the kitchen

I’d stand,

A reflection
in the just

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Recent Comments

Hannah Collins on This Beeston Morning (3 days ago)

Laura Taylor on Socialist Cocaine (Tue, 17 Apr 2018 01:14 pm)

Cathy on Socialist Cocaine (Tue, 17 Apr 2018 08:31 am)

Wolfgar Miere on And It's Over To History For The Weather (Thu, 5 Apr 2018 07:03 am)

raypool on And It's Over To History For The Weather (Wed, 4 Apr 2018 10:06 pm)

elPintor on And It's Over To History For The Weather (Wed, 4 Apr 2018 10:01 pm)

Anya on And It's Over To History For The Weather (Wed, 4 Apr 2018 09:37 pm)

Anya on And It's Over To History For The Weather (Wed, 4 Apr 2018 09:35 pm)

Anya on And It's Over To History For The Weather (Wed, 4 Apr 2018 09:32 pm)

Brian Maryon on And It's Over To History For The Weather (Wed, 4 Apr 2018 09:24 pm)

Hazel ettridge on Nineteen and the Mermaids (Thu, 29 Mar 2018 09:21 am)

Wolfgar Miere on Nineteen and the Mermaids (Mon, 26 Mar 2018 01:50 pm)

Brian Maryon on Nineteen and the Mermaids (Mon, 26 Mar 2018 01:29 pm)

Laura Taylor on Other Blizzards (Thu, 22 Mar 2018 02:23 pm)

Ralph Dartford on Other Blizzards (Wed, 21 Mar 2018 05:51 pm)


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