profile image


Updated: Tue, 10 Nov 2015 01:29 am

Contact via WOL logo


Steve Rudd was born in a prefab in Hull, East Yorkshire, in 1955, completely naked, unable to walk, talk, or fend for himself. He began writing poetry at school, in common with many other misguided adolescents. Fortunately for all concerned, none of that early work has survived. His chief claim to poetic fame is that he once served Philip Larkin in a bookshop. Unfortunately for both parties at the time, he mistook the great man for Eric Morecambe. He now has four poetry collections in print (The Domesday Hedge, 23 Poems, Albion, Hauntings and Gabardine Swine] with a fifth, Fish Town, due late in 2012. His first book, Here Endeth The Epilogue, grew out of a long-standing love affair with the BBC Radio Soap The Archers, and is a collection of blog postings which often took the programme as a starting point, but then rambled off in all directions, seldom retracing their steps, in a weekly picture of life in Huddersfield’s Holme Valley. This has been followed by a successor volume, Feasts and Fasts (2011) The other major love of his life has been The Isle of Arran, the inspiration for the trilogy of travelogues, Arran Diaries, Loitering With Tin Tent, and Two Returns to Arran. In 2010, a bout of serious illness meant he was confined to hospital for six months, and during that time, conscious of the fact that summer was passing by outside his window, he decided to write down everything he knew about cricket so he could pass on the knowledge to his seven-year-old nephew when he was old enough to understand it. This became Zen and the Art of Nurdling. He lives in West Yorkshire with a wife, a cat, and a variable number of dogs, but not necessarily in that order. His hobbies include annoying people, lying under the table with an empty can of Special Brew (which is, in itself, a form of prayer) thinking about Abraham Lincoln’s hat, and having staring contests with the linoleum.


GONE AWAYS There are many reasons for not delivering a letter, However hard the whistling postman tries, Trundling his bike along cobbled streets; Usually, it happens when life contrives to affix A red sticky label to your past, And usually, there are reasons. Demolished; many have ticked this option. See you, in your childhood there, In your fine little terraced house The postman whistling over the cobbles Brings birthday cards from distant aunties; Mum, and Dad, and the cat, the warm coal grate Four solid walls and roof of good Welsh slate… But then, you live ten miles down the estuary, While caterpillar tracks rive up the brick dust into clouds In your old kitchen; the whistling postman Clacks the gate, comes up the path, surely this house Though? A place to bring home awkward girlfriends, Adolesce, lose your virginity, and study for exams. No, my friend, the garden’s paved now, The postie has lost his whistle, no-one picks up The cricket ball and throws it back: that’s not your mum Through the window, she only looks familiar, Vaguely similar to someone gone away. Your room at Uni, then? Hardly – You couldn’t really call it an address When you were there, listening to the postman Whistling as he crossed the sunlit quad, Let alone now it’s already tomorrow. Remember it fondly; address inaccessible, No such number, I’m afraid. This terrace, in a grimy, Northern town, A bathroom out the back, two-up, two down, The postie has almost come full circle As he trundles whistling past the pit-head. A house once truly yours, like the woman who shared it, No longer, I’m afraid, twenty years ago, refused. There’s no point posting letters to yourself And expecting different outcomes As you seal the same envelopes, over and over. Life is an opening-out; You can never go home – You don’t live there anymore. A DEAD MAN SPEAKS TO HIS DAUGHTER I’m in that photograph, you’ll spot the clue, At right-angles to the corner of your eye, faded, still true, I’m in that photo with the luminous frame That you can’t see, but it is my face, my real face, my name; I’m in that painting of the rolling downs, green-blue, Just out of sight; those photos of the Carolina hills, Or by the lakeside, dusk, background stark mountains, When we laughed and watched lake-lights colour the snow; I’m there still, though the photos have moved on, I’ll still be there when leaves fall, and when they bud, in light and dark, When bright sun bakes the summer, makes earth harden, When snow glints on each mountain’s distant pinnacle, I’ll be there, when sharp ice stills the fountains, Here’s there, there‘s here, I’ll always be each everywhere for you. Remember how, we romped in childhood’s garden I caught you when you fell, or stumbled, don’t be sad; My lovely, my beautiful, my daughter, my miracle That I had the making of, what does it matter that we only talk in dreams? We used to do that anyway; What does it matter that the corner of your mortal eye. it seems Can’t quite catch the now of my spirit’s quickness? I’m made of air and light, I share your joy and lift your sickness; Just as I ever did, one mind, made of two separate wills, I see you, and I hold you. Still your Dad. SKIDDAW, EASTER SUNDAY Its stillness is the stillness Of a stone wave, always about to break: A heaving sea, petrified in stone From the time when the mountains boiled And seas set, solid as slate, immense and crushing On layers of innumerable eyeless fossils. Its grey is the sombre and austere Grey of the Cumbrian habit Cleric or farmer, tweed jacket Flat caps in the slanting rain Looking over stone walls at Herdwicks Looking quizically back at you, yan, tan, tethera. As grey as the warning fell of scree Grey as faces turned towards the rain That say few words, just nod. Its sun is the brief loan of fire from distant heavens Dappling its flanks, highlighting bumps and dints Millions of years in the making: Its winds are bare, high and free Deflecting angled light off Scotland, or the Isle of Man. Its clouds are high today, for once, also Moving in a slow procession of shadows Over its mighty impersonal bulk. Its purple is almost religious, majestic - The last colour you'd expect on a mountain - Unexpected indeed, like turning a corner on the tourist path And coming face to face with God, Finding him waiting, saying "hurry up, what kept you?" Life kept me, but you know that, being God, You reply, and ask - why is a mountain purple? Ludicrous. But still we cluster at its feet, To weave and worship, offering Whatever we do, whatever shouts and tumults, In the town below - The clamour of a saviour at the gate: It waits, it watches, it will always watch, Silent and impersonal, Always about to break and engulf us Hanging up there, an outcrop of eternity. Its stillness is the stillness. Its stillness.

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

Do you want to be featured here? Submit your profile.


Profile image

Harry O'Neill

Fri 17th Feb 2012 22:50

The `Serendipity competition on here, check Anne Foxglove for details.

Profile image

M.C. Newberry

Mon 23rd Jan 2012 01:05

You have a warm and touching style - most welcome when the "technical" side of things can sometimes serve to obscure the quality of the content in poetry.

Profile image


Fri 20th Jan 2012 22:36

I really enjoyed Gonaways - it connected with something in me. I've moved around more than I'd have liked and would agree that you can never go back to the person you were - the house doesn't exist any more. I really love the way you express that.

Enjoyed A Deadman Speaks to his Daughter - that's how I'd like to imagine it.

Profile image

Ann Foxglove

Mon 25th Jul 2011 19:48

Hi Steve and welcome to WOL. The Dead Man Speaks to his Daughter, lovely, very moving, made me think of my dad. Thank you.

Profile image

Steve Rudd

Wed 15th Jun 2011 21:11

Thanks guys

Greg - yes, they are spookily alike. Larkin was often funnier, I gather. While working in the same bookshop I also met Margaret Drabble and Phil Drabble, but I was OK with telling them apart because only one of them was carrying a badger. Margaret.

Winston. It's the hat, yes? Compelling isn't it?

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Tue 14th Jun 2011 23:34

Hi Steve, welcome. Philip Larkin - Eric Morecambe, easily done. I enjoyed Gone Aways and Skiddaw very much.

<Deleted User> (7075)

Sat 11th Jun 2011 23:01

Hi Steve. Welcome to WOL. Your profile made me chuckle tonight, I share some of your listed interests but not telling you which! Winston

View all comments

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message