Lost in a Durham Landscape 

Lost in a Durham Landscape


I kicked my heels in the living room

while Aoife was in the kitchen

mulling wine


a painting above the mantelpiece

(where a mirror ought to be)

drew my eye


a watchman is walking through a gate

pushing a rusted bike


behind him tumble-down allotments

ahead a row of cottages


it’s late

the sky has darkled

a hazery of moonlight

drips across ice-moss

grey-green slate roofs


far to the right

(way off canvas)

a mongrel howls


the ruckus of distant crows

snatched in the wind as it

sweeps over the moor

adds atmosphere


a lamp shines yellow

through the curtains

of an upstairs window


the village is sleeping


my bike is squeaking

I lift it past the outhouse

and lean it against

the cottage wall


I raise an oiled latch

the back door opens at a touch


Upstairs a new born

lying between a mother’s breasts

bleats its first complaining breaths


a skinny girl

sits at a table

wolfing a doorstep

spread thick

with rhubarb and damson jam


a tea-kettle steams

on a ‘Yorkie’ stove


I root at the foot

of bowed stone steps

looking up wondering


‘Auntie’ from next-door-but-one

bustles past me smiling


her work is done

for now

she’ll be back in the morning

all being well


‘Aoife, go and say “hello”

to your brand new baby brother’


so it’s a lad

his future assured

by winding-gear


the skinny girl pulls a face 

her heart was set on a little sister


she leaves her crust and cup of tea

cardigan cuffs her cheeks clean

wipes all trace of sulk away and

with an excited smile bounds up


the reedy cries swell

as she opens

then fade

as she closes the door.


Exasperation from the kitchen,


‘Come and have a taste, Darling,

I think I’ve overdone

the cinnamon.’


◄ Ugly Until

A Concrete Pond ►


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Martin Elder

Sun 20th Jan 2019 15:26

This has a great rhythm and pace to it as well as some beautiful description which brings the whole piece to life.
Nice one


Sun 20th Jan 2019 11:38

Thanks, both - glad you like - with this one I feel I'm actually approaching writing poetry ?

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Sat 19th Jan 2019 13:11

Rick this poem my friend is far better than any paint on a canvas could ever be... the sights you see, we see.

So atmospheric well done.


Big Sal

Sat 19th Jan 2019 13:02

Now this is what I remember poems used to be written like.

Nicely done, and well written piece.?

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