Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Common Thread - a poem about Manchester

Common Thread

Manchester is made with a common thread
From the cotton-age, to years ahead
The place of Industrial Revolution
We know what it is to forge a future
Dating back to empires of Rome
Here Mamucium set up as home
Taking various shapes along the years
And now it will not fall to fear.
For this is a place of builders, inventors
One of the world’s first railway stations
It's created Vimto, flying shuttles
Knows how to make a proper cuppa
From the first mill to Trade Union Congress
The city knows how to grow and progress
For we split atoms, not each other
This is a hub of creative culture
Like the suffragettes working for the vote
People still stand for change and hope
Will not be silenced by a single act
When Manchester hurts, it just fights back
 The worker bee is on our sleeves
Northern grit in the air we breathe.
Home of the computer, the Hacienda
Football teams on the world  agenda
Founded the Halle, discovered graphene
Built on the bedrock of what we believe
Which is that we all matter, stand together
Will look forward and still remember
For we are strong and we are tough
And the common thread we have is love.

Monday, 10 October 2016


You are the only hug

I have had this week

Well, the kind of committed clasp

Which people use to hold back each other’s grief or fear

You kiss my hair with toothless open mouth.

5am, stirring hands, you’re here

Round with routine to begin the work

Revealing the angles of my face

Pin the words ‘hygienic’ ‘sensible’

As if before I was rage and dirt.

-          And yet my hands complicit in the act

Helping you to set the scene

You come in packs, but only one

It takes to turn my being to


Sometimes elastic like that kind of shame

Held together flowers

From the petrol station.

Now we’ve broken natures gesture

From torrent to taper

Expression into


You remove the flowing confession of my years

Like a fist can crush

A bloom


Stop a voice

And yet I let you round my wrist

Against the veins whose soundless mumble

Propelled these same limbs at fifteen months

To reach out, asking for a bobble.