Cussedly, the old communist
Shuns the lift and, pausing on each
Landing to drag rare oxygen
Into clenched lungs, takes the stairs step
By step, finally struggling out
On the plateau of his tower block.
A rasping rattle in his throat
Becoming so desiccated,
From where once his radical voice
Sounded loudly for the future,
Confirmed the presence of his being,
Now the notion of his not-being,
That concurrence of particles,
Granting him the privilege of life,
Are silently dissipating.
Just one last look along the Tyne
To the rim of his world wherein
Ideas as well as ships were drawn
And welded into new vessels,
Carrying visions of his class
Beyond shipyards and iron foundries,
Glass works and pits, further even
Than St. James Park. All gone now,
Of course, except for the football
Though even that is being consumed,
Swallowed by the esurient
Maw of finance. Perhaps ideas
Lie abandoned in breakers’ yards,
Rusting or dismantled piecemeal,
Some precious or popular parts
Recycled, once rendered quite safe.
From this elevated platform
The old communist banishes
However tempting they might seem.
Unfurled beneath him, Newcastle
Appears a testament in stone,
Tinted glass and dark metalled roads,
Concrete, brick and uPVC,
To labour, to co-operation
And to the collective striving
To do ever better next time.
This is how he can mount these flights,
This is how he isn’t defeated.