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Stephen W Atkinson

Updated: 1 day ago

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Aye, Wingate (Growing up in a small ex pit village in the North East) In 1839 a pick struck black gold And the story of a village began to unfold. Lord Howden presided over all things needed Farmland transformed from that which preceded Soon after, a small community appeared A harsh life and hard times... But, at least they had beer! Next came a station for trains to arrive To a fledgling village It gave a great sense of pride There were churches, of course For Methodist and Proddy And for Catholics as well If you were proper Goddy! But, in 1906 a disaster befell 26 lost to a deep, black hell The village mourned and paid its respects A memorial erected for us to reflect Then, through the coal dust, traders appeared Selling their wares to those far and near Cobblers, tailors and green grocers flourished Walter Wilson's was one of those names embellished The CO-OP, and Doggarts, And Glass's Brick Yard Holcrofts, and Knight's shop, All held in high regard Then came Ward and Naylors And Tonks' trucks thundering past We thought they'd be here forever But nothing ever lasts Now, most are just memories Framed stills in our minds Rose tinted, perhaps Or, perhaps, they really were better times But, a few fragments remain Refusing to wane To the rigours of change and decline But have shown great resolve And a will to evolve Not to submit to the passing of time: Yer can still gan to Robinson's For a sinker, nice 'n hot But you best ask them To strap a Rennie on top! And yer can still have a 'mystery tour' On a Roberts's bus (It was aalways Redcar or South Shields But don't tell - keep it hush!) And Johnnie's cafe's gone to Beamish To be reborn A little Italian Who became one of our own Me Mam and Dad met there And, no doubt, many others Not sure what he put in the vimto, though But it made a few expectant mothers! Pt 2 I lived at the top of Kings Road Where every neighbour was me Aunty And we'd aal help each other out When there was nowt left in the pantry! An empty pop bottle was worth 5p When we had two, off I'd flee To Devlins shop just round the bend 10p in pocket with my life I'd defend A 10p mix up was worth the run 1/2 penny chews and pink bubbly gum Refreshers, lollies and black jacks And all kinds of other nik nacks Then it was in to Brucie wood To climb trees and draw blood But all the trees shrank when the miners strike came Lost branches and height Don't know who was to blame... Me mam cleaned at the Top House and Fir Tree Sometimes I'd go with her And get pork scratchings for free! 'What's them levers on the bar And bottles on the wall?' She'd say: you might not hear them now son, But soon you'll hear their call Sure enough... First turned out in about '87 And Wingate, to me, was a pub heaven It was a canny crawl To do them all And coming back I would often fall But undeterred by gravel rash The next weekend: Back on the lash! The Queens would shut at 3 A couple of hours alcohol free So over to Johnnie's we'd go For a £1 special and a hot vimto A £1 special was like a breakfast But it was £1.35? Johnnie said, it used to be £1 ... sometime before 1985! Then, back to the Queens early So we needed a secret knock To wake Hobsy from his slumber And get the back door to unlock Summer barbie's out the back o' the Queens An axe man in the Vic Stella and Scrumpy behind the Green Door The Top House playing Teenage kicks... Pt 3 ...Aye, Wingate It could be because I'm older But it doesn't seem the same 'Some young'uns of today' Seem to play a different game There's too many plastic 'gangstas' Or - as I like to call them - wa***rs But it's part of me And I of it This village hewn From the depths of a pit Sometimes I love the place Sometimes not at all But I know there's people here Who'll catch me when I fall A community is a family A small imperfect universe Like the old 10p mix up It's varied and diverse There's many faces disappeared Many characters gone But in memory they still whisper Through the streets where they belong So, In years to come when I am frail And a proper grumpy, owld knacker I'll still declare with my last breath: I'm proud to be a pit yakker! xxxx WOL beyond the storm comp was the first competition I'd ever entered & I'm over the moon that The thief of breath hugs (part 2) is included in the anthology. Much appreciated! Part 1 I've included on WOL. Chrysalis (A Sunderland AFC story) Published in/on A Love Supreme: The old garden gate, published in Northern Life magazine


To Bloom Sometimes Life is like the smallest flower Stretching for some sun When all the bigger ones devour All it could become

About some of the poems

The thief of breath & hugs (pt 1) Life during covid 19. Wrote after observing a family waving to an old woman trapped behind a sun dappled window, who, in between blowing kisses, was shaking her fist skyward to some, so it seemed to me, invisible foe! Part 2 Included in WOL's Beyond the storm anthology. Relates to 'poor old Edith' from part 1. Her Last Dance Written after my Grandma passed away. So there's a little bit of my heart tucked away within there somewhere Political Irrigation! Politicians! What else can I say! One thing Brexit proved was that they're all in it for themselves & turn into unruly kids with quivering pet lips when it doesn't go their way! How it should bee...🐝 Looking through old family photos & my own, rose tinted, memories of long walks & picnics in sun soaked fields and sandwiches that tasted like a little bit of heaven ( even though they were probably corned beef & tomato, & hard boiled egg with salad cream !) How free are we? Just a walk down Castle Eden dene brought this one on Your scar Sitting at an under 16's disco on holiday at Cayton Bay back in the early 80's, I was about 11 or 12 & on the table in front was a man with his back to me, sipping whiskey & a girl about my age. She was sobbing uncontrollably & the man kept turning to her & saying things like: stupid...fat...ugly little porker... useless etc. The girl just kept saying, 'Daddy please' over & over. I still get that horrible twisted burning feeling in the pit of my gut when it drifts back into my mind. Not knowing what else to do, I got up & asked her to dance. He just laughed & she told me to F off ( what else could she do). Soon after he got up & walked out & she ran after him & I never saw them again. I know it doesn't sound much, but those 5 or so minutes often come back to twist my gut. That incident & some research into psychological abuse produced this poem. I hope life eventually treated her well. Ethereal Streaming. Erm...not a clue Seven Little Girls. Over my garden fence growing up was a wood, were I spent many a day & night climbing trees & building camps & telling ghost stories with mates, torchlight under chin of course 😉👻 Above The Clouds. Pretty self explanatory! But will we ever reach the awakening? Bed Of Bones. Actually about abuse. The old lothario promising the world then stripping them down to be his possession without ever letting them leave. The Darkness And The Light. After reading about a frail, old man in a care home who passed away, on his own, without being able to see any family for weeks. Head Space. Just came to me while I was lying in the bath listening to a bit of Led Zeppelin! 😄. Have no idea why it popped into my head during Stairway to heaven! Cooking Pot! Homelessness feeds homelessness etc. We've all been guilty of averting our eyes & ignoring the plight of our homeless. Myself far too often. Such dreams as stuff are made on... So, I wake up last week, knowing I'd had such a bizarre dream. But all I could remember was golden syrup, dark woods, school friends and a coconut! So, that's where this came from...and who knows, it might be exactly how it developed? Dryad. Sat upon a fallen tree down Castle Eden Dene. And daydreaming, as usual, into the dimming woodland, where an old oak tree didn't quite look right. The mossy bark seemed to be moving. It was probably shadow, or even a bird. But to me it was, of course, a tree demon. 😁 Oh come to me! Influenced by the classic b& w adaptation of M R James Whistle and I'll come to you starring Michael Hordern. The Crimson Queen! Just thinking about the wife... 😉 Nirvana A tale of crippling shyness leading to depression The Old Garden Gate The hopes & naivety of a young lad leaving his village to fight in the 1st world war. A Winter Escape. Fun in the snow A place where mushrooms grow. Took on a (dark) mind of its own. The moral of the story? Never pick mushrooms from strange cavities ...😲 Starlight. Time, Life, change, love, togetherness. The end Beautiful Friend. A Silhouette in Time. The idea came from a memory of our first home, which was a Victorian terraced built in 1900, complete with original coving, ceiling rose & fireplace etc. On the 1st night I stopped there, while I was fixing it up, I was sat in the armchair, left by the previous owner, having a sly glass (or more likely a can of John Smiths) or 2 in front of the coal fire & for a moment, out the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a door in the middle of a side wall. But when I turned, of course, it was just a solid wall. Anyway, something triggered that memory & this is the result. Nectar The innocence of nature slowly being stripped away & ourselves with it.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

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keith jeffries

Wed 22nd Sep 2021 22:59

Stephen, you have shrunk. Surely you are not fifty years old, if so what foundation cream are you using?


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Stephen Gospage

Thu 2nd Sep 2021 17:07

My pleasure. Shooting Star was great.

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The Crescent Moon

Mon 9th Aug 2021 05:55

Hey, thank you for reading and liking my last poem!

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Laura Taylor

Thu 10th Jun 2021 11:00

Thanks very much, Stephen, for taking the time to read and comment on Care. Have tinkered with it a bit now. The industry is a real disgrace eh? It needs nationalising, now.

C Byrne

Wed 17th Mar 2021 16:42

"To Bloom" is great

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diana kaunis

Tue 2nd Mar 2021 02:13

WOW! Just read your poems, and they are amazing!

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Kristian Deidre Brown

Fri 22nd Jan 2021 03:26

Hi, Stephen! Thanks for your welcoming comment on my profile 😊 I’ve really enjoyed reading through yours! In particular, your segment “About each poem”- learning about where an artist finds their inspiration is one of my very favorite things! Your concepts are thought provoking and nostalgic. Looking forward to reading more of your pieces!

Kristian 🌼


Wed 20th Jan 2021 03:57

I agree.
the W give you more gravitas.
sounds like you are really important.
so keep using it.


Thu 14th Jan 2021 04:36

Thanks for the comment Stephen W Atkinson
without a period after the W
what happened to it?
did someone steal your period?
and what is that in the window behind you
a soccer field
a cemetery?


Sat 9th Jan 2021 00:35

Thanks for your long and interesting comment
Stephen W. Atkinson.
Next time, be more brief!


A Christ

Wed 25th Nov 2020 16:48

To Bloom

Life is like the smallest flower
Stretching for some sun
When all the bigger ones devour
All it could become

I loved this!

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Tommy Carroll

Tue 3rd Nov 2020 20:13

Cheers Stephen for your liking of my “New Worlds Collide “
Tommy 🙂

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keith jeffries

Thu 29th Oct 2020 10:41


Thank you for replying to my query about the books you read. I am like you in that I am also a very slow reader. I enjoy absorbing the content of the book, its vocabulary and style of writing and not merely the story itself. I often have two or three books on the go at any one time. D H Lawrence and Carlos Ruiz Zafon are two of my favourite authors.

Thanks again


Wed 21st Oct 2020 03:53

thanks for visiting,
next time help yourself to a beer
in the fridge.


Thu 8th Oct 2020 03:52


I guess that means I'm under a lot of pressure!


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Greg Freeman

Mon 28th Sep 2020 10:05

Fascinated by your Profile poem, 'Aye, Wingate', Stephen, and the revelation that a little part of your village was taken and rebuilt at Beamish, the museum close to the Angel of the North, which I visited recently. I found Beamish very interesting, but also a somewhat eerie, spooky place - a place deserving a poem or two of its own.

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Stephen Atkinson

Fri 18th Sep 2020 10:25

Thank you Vautaw. Looking forward to reading your stuff too!

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Fri 18th Sep 2020 06:23

Welcome to WOL Stephen. I’m looking forward to reading your poetry. Write on!

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