Tuesday, 27 May 2014


if you think this is democracy,
this quango land
insult to our history,
this emptiness
of false celebrity,
this wretched shallowness,
this shattered ignorance
of all that shines from our fought-for heritage,
this media connivence
and bone idleness,
this following of the fast buck,
this grovelling to the greed of capital,
this sickening homage to materialism,
this lack of human spirit
in our city centres,
this brutal selfishness
encouraged by a government
that denies our European roots,
that scans the wonder of the vast Atlantic
for feeble ideas to run with,
this rat race of a society
that puts self above solidarity,
these feeble careerist substitutes for activism
who have lost any real will for change,
who have become corrupted by a power-lust,
who lack any passion
other than to climb grimly up their greasy poles,
clinging on to their self-delusion,
ignoring, in their centrist way,
the true beauty of community,
handing out their gongs to the servile
and rubbishing the selfless folk
who work their little miracles every breathing day.


Sunday, 25 May 2014



By John Masefield

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,

Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,

With a cargo of ivory,

And apes and peacocks,

Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.
Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,

Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,

With a cargo of diamonds,

Emeralds, amethysts,

Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.
Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke-stack,

Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,

With a cargo of Tyne coal,

Road-rails, pig-lead,

Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.


This city is celebrated
In the whole empire of the Britons.
The road to it is steep.
It is surrounded with rocks,
And with curious plants.
The Wear flows round it,
A river of rapid waves;
And there live in it
Fishes of various kinds,
Mingling with the floods.
And there grow
Great forests;
There Hide in the recesses
Wild animals of many sorts;
In the deep valleys
Deer innumerable.
There is in this city
Also well known to men
The venerable St. Cudberth;
And the head of the chaste King
Oswald, the lion of the Angli;
And Aiden, the Bishop:
Aedbert and Aedfrid,
The noble associates.
There is in it also
Aethelwold, the Bishop;
And the celebrated writer Bede;
And the Abbot Boisil,
By whom the chaste Cudberth
Was in his youth gratis instructed;
Who also well received the instructions,
There rest with these saints,
In the inner part of the Minster,
Relicks innumerable,
Which perform many miracles,
As the chronicles tell us,
And which await with them
The judgment of the Lord.

This is an Anglo-Saxon poem.

Sunday, 11 May 2014



It is the living who haunt the dead,
Being pale and silent in graveyards and on
The scattering grounds, by ash-salted sea,
Flitting between somber saplings planted
By humanists in set aside fields. Our dead
Are possessed by us, their rot scented
With unsolicited flowers, names incised
Into stone as petrified memory
Over dates and doggerel as if
Of some significance. But, the deceased
Remain reserved, thoroughly undisturbed
By our pestering, about their business
Of death without any untoward show,
Utterly dedicated to absence,
Unrelenting in determined pursuit
Of their true vocation. For all that we
Pester them, demanding their attention,
Angered by their seeming indifference
To us, they keep a dignified silence:
And by that, and that alone, are we haunted.

Dave Alton

Sunday, 4 May 2014


poet joseph skipsey

MY lad he is a Collier Lad,
    And ere the lark awakes,
He's up and away to spend the day
    Where daylight never breaks;
But when at last the day has pass'd,
    Clean washed and cleanly clad,
He courts his Nell who loveth well
    Her handsome Collier Lad.

Chorus—There's not his match in smoky Shields;
                    Newcastle never had
                A lad more tight, more trim, nor bright
                    Than is my Collier Lad.

Tho' doomed to labour under ground,
    A merry lad is be;
And when a holiday comes round,
    He'll spend that day in glee;
He'll tell his tale o'er a pint of ale,
    And crack his joke, and bad
Must be the heart who loveth not
    To hear the Collier Lad.

At bowling matches on the green
    He ever takes the lead,
For none can swing his arm and fling
    With such a pith and speed:
His bowl is seen to skim the green,
    And bound as if right glad
To hear the cry of victory
    Salute the Collier Lad.

When 'gainst the wall they play the ball,
    He's never known to lag,
But up and down he gars it bound,
    Till all his rivals fag;
When deftly—lo! he strikes a blow
    Which gars them all look sad,
And wonder how it came to pass
    They play'd the Collier Lad.

The quoits are out, the hobs are fix'd,
    The first round quoit he flings
Enrings the hob; and lo! the next
    The hob again enrings;
And thus he'll play the summer day,
    The theme of those who gad;
And youngsters shrink to bet their brass
    Against the Collier Lad.

When in the dance he doth advance,
    The rest all sigh to see
How he can spring and kick his heels,
    When they a-wearied be;
Your one-two-three, with either knee
    He'll beat, and then, glee-mad,
A heel-o'er-head leap crowns the dance
    Danced by the Collier Lad.

Besides a will and pith and skill,
    My laddie owns a heart
That never once would suffer him
    To act a cruel part;
That to the poor would ope the door
    To share the last he had;
And many a secret blessing's pour'd
    Upon my Collier Lad.

He seldom goes to church, I own,
    And when he does, why then,
He with a leer will sit and hear,
    And doubt the holy men;
This very much annoys my heart;
    But soon as we are wed,
To please the priest, I'll do my best
    To tame my Collier Lad.