Northern Morning

The morning rain soaks my clothes, my hair, my skin,
I do not care. For I am not there. 
I look at the mortar between the crumbling bricks in this old
Wall built by the calloused hands of these men who’d served
On the Somme. Men who’d been called ‘such dirty scabs’
In 1929 by the striking Salford dockers. They’d hung their heads
But they’d had mouths to feed. They’d taken any work they could.
They’d carved their initials and the date 1929 on the granite bridge
That took them over to Quaker fields where kicking a soggy football
Had helped them forget their empty bellies, if only for a while.
Now young kids smoke skunk here, the sweet smell is always there,
Hanging heavy as the air. Their great grandfathers used Laudanum,
That concoction of opium and alcohol, then still rife, despite the law:
There is always resistance, many ways to get out of your head
And to imagine that there could be more. So much fucking more.



◄ Widows & Orphans

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John Marks

Wed 15th Mar 2023 16:15

Thank you poemthe, Aisha, Uilleam, Keith & Stephen.

Being born amoung the working people
I know povery is a hard old hag,
and a monster, when you're pinched for actual necessities.
And whoever says she isn't, is a liar. DH Lawrence

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Stephen Gospage

Tue 14th Mar 2023 22:00

Thanks for writing so well on these important subjects, John. More power to you.

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Tue 14th Mar 2023 11:14

Thanks John.
I've walked along canal towpaths, and past "important" buildings, and I've often been conscious of the precisely accurate sometimes very artistic work done by craftsmen and women, many of whom would have been survivors the Somme and such horrors.
Blood sweat and tears seems to have been the lot of many in that day, and continues to be so in this day in many different ways.

As for drugs in particular?
For some decades now, I've been of the opinion that those conducting the so-called "War on Drugs" (usually for ideological reasons) are on a hiding to nothing, causing more sociological problems than they solve, encouraging criminals to go "underground" causing crime amongst an increasingly younger section of our hopeless youth, to say nothing of the harm done to our judicial system, and to society at large by corruption amongst police officers.

On the expert advice of scientists and of medical experts, we need to legislate to legally control and make available certain drugs, whilst ignoring the irrational rantings of religious and political ideologues.

Sorry to go on, but I see the harm caused in my home town every single day; a tragedy unfolding before our very eyes.

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keith jeffries

Tue 14th Mar 2023 09:02

How the depressed and miserable feel so alienated as to seek some amelioration for their plight. It would seem from your poem and in the present day that so many souls still seek to escape the dilemma of their trapped existence. This sadly this is commonplace as |I have witnessed youths in multi storied car parks using what they call a bong, a large glass bottomed jar from which they each smoke an intoxicating substance. They live or exist on the fringes of society. The very thought that veterans of the Somme should suffer should rejection appalls me.. Many wrongs need to be righted, but how do we break this traumatic cycle?
A poem from the heart of those who were desperate and their off springs who remain so today.
Thank you for this stark reminder.

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