Over 400 poets contributed 800 poems to celebrate Liverpool's 800th year. You can read them all here, just click anywhere on the picture of the Liver Building. Alternatively, you can select poems from a list
The Cast Iron Hamlet
Within the kindly shadows of the cast iron church,
the sleepy post war hamlet lay dormant,
upon its riverside perch.
to the unwelcome incursions,
of the post war awakening of the outside world.
From those rusted, red bricked terraces,
encrusted with a slatey grey….
a new generation of “Baby Boom” children
was released each morning, to squander…..
the endless hours of summer away.
In rudest health, swelled with free school milk,
fuelled with concentrated orange juice,
and newly unrationed food.
as yet, well drilled in etiquette,
still disciplined in their play.
like trusted homing pigeons,
once set aloft, expected only to return,
for their meals at the appropriate time of the day.
The nine o’clock bells of old St Michaels,
chimed out and slowly died away………in seductive tones,
and struck an irresistible chord,
to entice a friendly but cantankerous “horde”,
of well scrubbed youths out to play,
“Freed” from the cast iron comfort of their homes,
“Freed”…to roam the benign, traffic less roads,
of bubbling summer tarmac…………..yet secure,
within the extended family gaze, of an army,
of unrelated uncles and maiden aunts,
Guardian angels, hovering behind every twitching curtain,
and every half open wooden door,
the girls, red cheeked, with plaited hair,
in navy blue knickers down to their knees,
the boys, impatient in their flannel shorts,
and their cotton shirts, all sticky out ears and brylcreemed hair,
desperate to be on their way,
carrying their cricket bats and Dinky toys,
eagerly straining to test the boundaries,
of their fast expanding world………
Swapping stamps and comics on the way,
except for the lad with the leg iron,
frantically lagging behind,
a survivor of polio, who was clattering down the cobbled entries,
in his gabardine mac'.
From the vicarage to the corner shop,
past Cragg’s Cottage, they wouldn’t stop,
until they’d broken out across the golf links,
playing cowboys and Indians in the long grass,
and hiding in the abandoned air raid shelters,
as imaginary German bombers……..droned past.
then how easy it seamed for them, as they streamed out,
over the railway bridge, Shrouded in sulphurous steam,
and bathed in an eerie light,
to go splashing through the marshes,
squealing after newts and frogs,
prized jam jars held tightly aloft…………..in flailing arms,
screeching seagulls, dive bombing overhead, raising their alarms.
Abruptly halting in the Priory woods,
at the very margin of the cast shore,
before sliding, legs akimbo,
over the seaweed, sand and shingle,
desperately struggling to keep their balance,
stuttering unsurely, legs astride, and pirouetting,
along the greasy, oil jetty pipeline,
to test their mortality again, by shadow dancing with the waves,
until the tidal pull of the family drew them back home …….
to safety……….at that very point,
where cast iron was forged,
into a safety net of steel.
(A tribute to post war St Michael’s In the Hamlet, where I grew up.)
To we tried to get poem800 published in book form but with 800 poems we couldn't find a publisher, also it was too expensive for us to print ourselves via vanity press so we regret that we have been unable to get it published. But we decided to leave it published on the internet i.e. running with a random poem every day (at our expense) and if anyone has any ideas on how to publish please get in touch.
Finally if If you wish to make a donation to Zoe's place please follow their link below.
- All poems are protected by copyright and are not to be reproduced without permission.
- We hold no responsibility for the claimed authorship of poems.
- We will not enter into correspondence about any entry.
Pete Price Radio City 10.00 pm Sun - Thursday (read him some poetry!)
Claire Hamilton Arts and Culture Show Sunday 1-4pm Radio Merseyside
Liverpool Poem 800 is brought to you in association with the North West Disability Arts Forum
Zoe's Place Baby Hospice
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