For Gordon Phillips
Plaiting a rope of words, he would have drawn
The Pitman Poet out from his trappings,
Then, from a block of thoughts, begun chipping
A verse, as a sculpture might work his stone.
But, the rope broke. Now he is an absence,
The missing poem in a new collection,
A name not included, an exception,
An ever-present lost to the past tense.
Still the Tyne flows to the sea as always
And kittiwakes screech along the Quayside,
While, in a nearby pub, poets count the days,
Count the syllables, count the feet that reside
In every line they’ve spun, that legacy
Left by pitman or poet once time elides.