I cannot say for certain where I’m ‘from’
beyond the day I crawled into this world
and that’s the way I like it, truth be told,
to shape my own existence from the start.
That blond boy there with freckles and basin cut,
a shy one, wearing simple NHS specs,
in clothes bought big so he could grow
to fill them on a diet of Yorkshire pud.
An artist’s bent, that angered soldier dad.
Drawings and poems all saved by a proud mum.
The ‘no child of mine will work the pit’
philosophy that forced him to read books.
An obstinance that rebuffed the playground bully
and led to claims of ‘difficult and brusk’
written by teachers who wanted little angels
to sing in the Sunday catholic pews.
So he grew up wide and tall
like the crags at Malham cove
and although he looked hard and mean
he was porous like the limestone.
He loved, and he was loved
and he never compromised
and if I could tell him anything
it would be ‘don’t listen to old men’
Through my veins there flows Calder-blood,
my skin ingrained with coal dust from the pits,
my heart the spinning wheels of textile mills,
my attitude as hard as millstone grit
So no apologies from me about the way that I turned out,
no hand wringing absolutions for what’s done.
This is me! Fault ridden, scarred, unbroken.
a case of where I’ve been – not where I’m 'from'.