Poetry Blog by Ralph Dartford

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M.C. Newberry on A Period of Quarantine (Thu, 19 Jul 2018 05:48 pm)

Martin Elder on Going Out For Cigarettes (Sun, 15 Jul 2018 06:37 pm)

Wood on St John’s (after Van Morrison) (Tue, 26 Jun 2018 04:26 pm)

on St John’s (after Van Morrison) (Tue, 26 Jun 2018 08:58 am)

Hannah Collins on This Beeston Morning (Thu, 14 Jun 2018 07:13 pm)

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)

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A Period of Quarantine

I’m radio 

It’s for 
my thyroid,
you see.

They say 
it’ll work 

That those 
things will 

The sweats,

The madness,
rage and 

I have to be

for three days.

I might 
build a kite
to stave 
away the time.

I can 
make one 
out of a 
bin liner 
and a wire 

I can tie 
all my...

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Going Out For Cigarettes

We waited for details
throughout the night.
We ate toast and jam,
sipped instant coffee.
Phones ran out of credit.
Those moments defined us.

Danny never listened to me.
The worst of all his moves.
A man proficient in Geography
trusted with the treasure.
Your money, your girl, your car.
“We’ll only be an hour,” she said.

I heard it on the news.
A house burnt down in Luton.
They sa...

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St John’s (after Van Morrison)

Cerys plays
tunes this morning
on my radio

birds chirp 
the trees of 
St John’s 

and I’ve fine 
coffee from 

the sun streams
through and a friend
calls unexpectedly 

we talk about 
the things 
that matter 


and how 
far we’ve 

I look in 
the mirror 
and ask myself 

‘Wouldn’t it be great
if it was like this
all the time?...

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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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