entry picture

King 1 - Queen 2


Wath - Queen of Villages reigned

in her flower garden

her turnip grubbing fields

her pig pens and her byres

subjects tugging forelocks

native speech a country slide

years before the pits


When Wigan coalpits died

the King - black in workings underground

emerged in Wath to drag her subjects down

drawing men across the border

sinking them in daylight - or forever

in his pit  - Blueing them beneath


Sending hunker-squatters back to meet the Queen

pandas taken from her service

surfacing - to let her scrub their backs

remove the black


Men with coal-rimmed eyes

like kohl-brushed houris

in nights slaking dusty stomachs

black-lined heads


Scars blue as Royal Service

internal woad gained by ritual crawling to their workings

The Face - smiling its shining black teeth

sometimes biting tropic-naked bodies

sometimes swallowing them


sometimes swallowing for ever


Wailing whistles in the winding gear

women washing away with tears

service to the King of Coal

tracing the blue on silent faces -

thighs - stilled for ever

Wailing winding-sheets around

Returning them to greet the Queen

resting in her gentle soil


Replaced by sons and sons of sons

The King - voracious in his appetite

whispered that no learning

need come between

infancy and subjugation

A place was kept - lined with money


Slowly danger lessened underground

Machines protected men

Above they wandered in the dark

spoil-heaps - black buildings

blackened bushes - soot-flecked washing

on the line from Wigan


Sulphur clouds as yellow as the sun they masked

Cooling towers producing clouds

reigning over sky-clouds

rolling over men-of-darkness

soaking their sons


The King was growing old

his grip slipping

Wars fought by frightened men

to keep their subjugation



The Queen of Villages

rested by her isolation

reclaimed her subjects and her garden

threw green across mountains -

dragged black from underground -

closed cooling-towers and re-invented sky

washed her trees and bushes into blossom in the Spring

cleared the eyes and voices of her singing birds

returned her men from pandahood

moved inside their heads

blowing away the black


Cushioned them richly from poverty

but not from poverty of spirit


Taught hard lessons

Hopeless empty-handedness

Insinuating empty spaces

Acceptance of the need to learn

burning brightly in their pit-pale eyes

etching into sons let loose upon the world


Help me - help me please ►


No comments posted yet.

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