Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

 

This was our local for a week. Great pub.

The Fox and Hounds

The Landlord: long grey beard

and long grey hair

pumps the pints with practiced arm

eyes the beer with expert eye

The Landlady: his portly wife

efficient and firm

serves the meals, no flourish or fuss

fit for purpose, built to last

The daughter: stood in doorway

puffs a fag

off to London (or Leeds at least)

only home for weddings and funerals

The drinkers: some are local

some are not

Yorkshire bitter, Australian lager

home grown or foreign import

Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

The village of West Witton has an annual tradition. We stayed in a cottage in Grassgill, where the ‘ceremony’ concludes:

Burning the Bartle

Clouds drift behind Penhill, behind the stone beacon which once burned a warning of the Spanish Armada, behind the squat stone barn, behind the walking path which traverses the hill. Below, the villagers carry a huge straw man with mask face, bulging eyes and raggy clothes, down the main street – a guy, an effigy of Bartle the sheep stealer, Bartle the pig thief, Bartle the giant. They stop at each pub, drink beer, chant “Have you seen the Bartle?”, pass a hat around. They carry him up Penhill Crags, his torn rags fluttering; past Hunters Thorn, blowing their horns. Some kneel before the Bartle at Capplebank Stee. They roll on to Grassgill Beck, where they twist his head, breaking his straw neck; onto Wadhams End and to Grassgill End where a pyre is ready to receive the Bartle. Saint Bartholomew’s church bell rings.

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/england/north-yorkshire/festivals/august/burning-of-the-bartle-west-witton.html

 

Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

Yorkshire Dales III – Walls

Posted: July 24, 2015 in poetry
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Walls

 

Stone: stretched

from fell to rigg

from crag to beck

 

grey patched

lichen plumed

pocked and pitted

 

pile on pile

pressed by cow pelt

brushed by sheep shank

 

the land’s flanks

stitched with

drystone ribs

Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

Yorkshire Dales II – Hills

Posted: July 24, 2015 in poetry

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Some of the hills on the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway are extremely challenging. The worst so far was a long, long, climb out of Grinton, with a cold headwind and very bleak scenery. Sometimes, all you can do is to put your head down and keep pedalling.

Hills

Grinding into a biting gale

chain straining up

a vicious gradient

my rain stung face facing down

to black bitumen, sheep dung

and picked over carcass


Drowned in wind

lung gasp and pulse pound

a car buffets past

veers me vergeward



I am on the verge

but grind on and up

on and up

against the grade

rumbling over cattle grids

reaching false top

after false top

and more and more

bleak moorland

until


lessening and levelling

and dropping to

stone patterned dale

and squat barns

flocked fields and

flat capped villages

stone crossed greens

square towered churches

and bitter beer.


Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

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I’m cycling in the Yorkshire Dales and trying to write a poem a day for a week. Internet access is patchy, so they may get posted sporadically. And formatting is not so easy on a tablet

Here’s number one. I love the place names around Wensleydale.

From Wensleydale

(after  Jen Hadfield)

I will take you by Wanlass

I will take you by West Wood

I will take you by Haremire and Tullis Cote

I will take you through Preston Scar to Old Flue


I will bring you down Long Scar

I will lead you up Broomber Rigg


I will show you Loft Skew

I will show you Bellerby Moor


I will lead you down Black Beck

We will run in Spring Gill over Walburn Moor


We will cross over Cross Gill Top

We will fall into Whit Fell and Peat Fell


We will beat through East End Vein

We will beat through Old Stork Vein


We will rest in Hags Gill

We will wash in the icy Swale


We will sleep in Nun Cote Nook.

—–

copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

I popped over to Tram Stop 6 yesterday afternoon to have a look at the poetry signs and billboard. Looks good. Here’s a gallery of snaps of them. Click on the first thumbnail and it will bring up the slide show.

Tram Stop 6

Posted: May 6, 2015 in adelaide, experimental, travel
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Back in late 2013, I participated, along with several other writers / artists, in a project to write words for a public art project at tram stop 6, about halfway between Adelaide and Glenelg. This is the very grey concrete tram stop:

Tramstop 6 - South Rd

 

I wrote about it here. The project was organised by Mike Ladd and Cathy Brooks for Marion Council

The project is in the process of being implemented. Here are some pics provided by Mike Ladd. I haven’t dropped by to look at it yet. There will be an official opening sometime soon.

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Poem number 30 for April 2015. The final one. I’ll miss NaPoWriMo, because it makes me write every day.

Like many people, I’m very uncomfortable with the exploitation of patriotism by politicians, and the selective commemoration of some wars but not others. On Anzac day in Canberra, an aboriginal man was prevented from marching. He had a banner saying “Lest we Forget – The Frontier Wars” (referring to the people killed in undeclared wars between settlers and the aboriginal population). He is an ex-serviceman and wanted to march in commemoration of his dead colleagues, but also in commemoration of aboriginal people killed in the frontier wars. A policeman told him “this day is not for you”.

The Australian War Memorial website says that Anzac Day “.. is the day on which we remember Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.”

 

 

Not for You

this day is not for you

this march is not for you

this commemoration is not your commemoration

this flag is not your flag

this land is not your land

this war is not your war

 

(this day is our day

this march is for us

this commemoration is of our dead

this flag is draped on our coffins

this band is playing our music)

 

this day is not for you

these graves are not your graves

these memorials are not your memorials

these speeches are not your language

these legends are not your legends

these dreams are not your dreams

 

(This day is our day

This skin is our skin

this lore is our lore

this history is our history

these myths are our myths

this system is our system

this way is our way)

 

this rule is our rule: THIS DAY IS NOT FOR YOU

 

Read more at  New Matilda

 

Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

Poem number 29 for April 2015. I’ve been messing around with this for a while, and today came up with the card theme, hacked it to within an inch of its life and ended up with this. I think it will re-emerge in a totally different form some time.

Cards

the laughter
the lovemaking
the closeness
the rose-strewn days

the workplace bully
the unpaid overtime
the incompetence
the conveyor belt

diamonds

the joy of birth
a girl in a communion dress
the party games
the picnic rug

the egg-shell tension
the aloneness
the distance
the silences

 

Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015

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Poem number 38 for April 2015. There was a dead possum on the pavement in front of my house this morning (above). I was reminded of a Gary Young prose poem.

Farewell

after Gary Young

A possum did not survive the night. It is stretched on the pavement, wide-eyed. Whatever fatal injuries it sustained are not visible. No red stain, no ripple of intestines. The musk lorikeets in the high branches of the lemon scented gum are excited, chorusing with the eastern rosellas and mynas lower down.  The elderly man across the road does his morning Parkinsonian walk around the front garden, glances towards the corpse, trembles back indoors. The postman on his Honda rumbles along the pavement, dispenses bills, circulars, welcome and unwelcome news, zigs around the possum, wafts exhaust fumes over the body. It’s autumn. The weather is cool. It will be days before the body ripens, stiffens, bloats. Bin collection is 4 days away. The Anzac day commemorations are gone. The Prime Minister farewelled three hundred troops bound for Iraq. A Basra reed warbler was sighted by a serviceman in the Mesopotamian Marshes.

 

Copyright Mike Hopkins 2015