Thursday, 17 July 2014

Celebrating Shirebrook

The former Shirebrook Colliery,
a focus of the new film.
Yesterday saw a very special event at Shirebrook Academy as the sports hall played host to the HallĂ© Orchestra who raised the roof with a concert of classical pieces and music from films. They were joined by students from the Academy and the Miner's Welfare Brass Band to launch a new documentary, 'Shirebrook: A Living Heritage', made by Martyn Harris with an original score by Beatrice Schirmer. I've been working with students at Shirebrook Academy over the past couple of months, encouraging them to write poems about Shirebrook's past and future. The film featured a piece of my own, written specially for it, which you can read below. Congratulations to everyone who made yesterday such a wonderful event!

Shining Stream

At Shirebrook, dig
until your spade hits
long forgotten seams of coal,
all Lipton’s vanished architecture,
places where the headstocks used to stand.

Then deeper,
til you touch down
on the slats of a ghost loom,
or strike against the railway tracks
of 1895, worn smooth by back-and-forth.

And deeper,
down to clay tiles
left from Roman settlements,
the gaps where footprints first
learned how to shape themselves.

Keep on
until you’re stopped
by water, meet a Shining Stream:
the future passing underneath us,
running clear and quiet and bright.

Friday, 4 July 2014

A Derbyshire Cyclist's Song

We've all gone cycling crazy this weekend, and in honour of the Grand Depart passing very briefly through Derbyshire, here's a commissioned poem I wrote in the voice of a slightly worn-out Derbyshire cyclist. Happy biking, everyone!

A Derbyshire Cyclist’s Song

Cycling up our county’s tilted hills,
I slow the pedals, hover bird-like
until the forge of my own heartbeat stills.

I think of Tebbit’s famous “on yer bike”.
Did he mean movement equals fight?
I don’t know how to name this work,

these moments of uncomplicated flight:
pitted against limestone, the path going beserk,
running away from gravity.

Perhaps he meant keep on and lose yourself.
If you find meaning in activity
you’ve found the spoke of life itself…

Who cares. This is my slow labour of like.
I can’t stop now. I get back on my bike.