High on treeless, pylon planted moors –
two rows of black brick houses, bracken choked,
are slicked with slanting rain.
A lumpy oaten sky sucks at willows by a shed,
the seedy weeds in lines of veg, a sumpy path,
the top of Futters’ barn.
Across the swerve of tarmac road, a schoolyard
with its rusting swing, an empty chapel
and a battery farm.
Our terraces – long greasy roofs of lowering slates,
but window frames are bright with yellow, red and blue,
a painted peacock on a door;
the houses arsey versy – yards with privies
by the drive, best faces to the sweep
of peat bog, sedge and carr.
Inside, our queue of scruffs all wait in turn
for thin grey soup, a chunk of heavy bread,
and mugs of Barleycup;
some boilersuited – up for hours of cutting wood
and mucking out – others still in jim-jams –
just got up.
WILL PEOPLE PLEASE NOT… on a blackboard,
another full of rotas, receipts for stamps, coarse flour,
a pound of two inch screws.
Outside, four nannies tethered roughly on the green
view this world with sly and slotted eyes –
ruminate and chew.
(from ‘Days of the Commune’)
Sally started her writing life as a songwriter, her songs and poems having featured in award winning dramas and features for BBC Radio 4. She was a winner in the 2008 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, chosen by Michael Longley. She recently received a Hawthornden Fellowship to work on her first full length collection.
View Sally’s Poetry Business page here.