Northern Powerhouse

posted in: Poems | 0

 

We’re still here as wind whips white powder

across aborted roads till our eyes sting.

It sticks in the throat like surrender

from the slumped union man, red tie flapping

in the coordinated attack from the dust

and the gale-force stink of chicken shit someone dumped

last night to keep the numbers down. They already cut

the cables on number 1, said the shaft was unsafe, couldn’t

leave it, oh Lordy, no, Health & Safety, gone

now but it was safe enough until the last three weeks

to send working men down to keep the lights on.

Now the brass band plays Abide with me

as the handmade banner fights the wind.

This is where we’re from. This is who we are.

 

We’re still here after Buyout: Closure,

Buyout: Closure, times two; last one gifted

to a rich man’s son. What’s wrong with an old Micra,

like that stolen one that just drifted

over the rubble on the roundabout?

Every time we kept the union alive.

80% ballots left no room for doubt,

just like in the war when they went on strike

for the right to have soap. They hated Hitler

and defended their country underground,

but they didn’t care much for Churchill either.

Record productions followed by shutdowns,

markets rigged by free market excuses.

This is where we’re from. This is who we are.

 

We’re still here, though they’re determined to wipe us out,

not just because it’s a pit, not because it’s coal,

not just because it’s where our past got its power,

but because we represent a vision, a whole

different world. No wonder we’re bitter with chasers

of ashes in Poundland, bought off with knock-off bags.

It’s a bit late to say, Don’t be political

in top-down class warfare where that black stuff is taxed

to death so they can sob lies at her funeral.

As the band plays Jerusalem we will not cease

from mental fight, nor bow to privileged devils

who sell us endless War and scare us with Peace,

and jeer at hope after all we’ve gained through struggles.

This is where we’re from. This is who we are.

 

And we’re still here.

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