Friday, 31 January 2014

New Brighton, 1978 by Clare Kirwan

New Brighton, 1978

So easy to find myself there –
every hill led to the edge of land.
I’d freewheel without thinking
grey brown river. It meant nothing
to me, yet I sought it out –
it’s brackish solitude and always
the wind – sometimes a howl
you understand, sometimes a sob.

All the wrong way around. I was
too young for such nostalgia
but Seasons in the Sun
stirred up my teething soul.
Those were the days
of blue anorak, battered,
big glasses, briny,
bad hair tattered flags.

The prom was then, as now,
unlovely and all at right angles –
an expanse of pavement, lampposts,
railings, concrete wall, and then
the pirate fingertips of Irish Sea
hypnotizing, enticing me
to that churning horizon.

And going home seemed further
than the journey out had been.
So easy to find myself there,
then turning, realizing the wind
had been behind and pushing.
Head down, salted, gripping handlebars,
fighting back weather and inclination,
thirteen and against everything.

©  Clare Kirwan

From ‘Sculpted’ anthology of North West Poets to be launched in April
Click to go to Clare's own blog 

Moses came to Merseyside by Clare Kirwan

Moses came to Merseyside      

Moses came to Merseyside
and waved his magic staff.
It was his trademark trick and so
it always got a laugh.

He turned up at New Brighton,
and shouted from the beach:
I’m going to make the Mersey part
-  it’s only two quid each!

And Moses spake – at quite some length
though muffled by his beard
and people shuffled, keen to start
- that’s why they’d volunteered.

And all of them let out a gasp
when Moses raised his hand -
the waves receded, rolling back
til the river bed was… land.

The habitat was suddenly
more coastal than marine
from Egremont to Pier Head
- a long walk in between

On Fort Perch Rock, a crowd of folk
had gathered to observe
the faithful few traverse the gorge
- the ones who had the nerve.

And birds of prey on roof tops
looked down with greedy eyes
as they set out from New Brighton,
without compass or supplies.

Past rusty junk and sunken hulks
they shuffled on, quite stunned
to see  the bones of murdered men
and all we’ve jettisoned.

They turned to look at Wirral now
- how very small it seemed,
how very grey and far away -
but how Liverpool gleamed!

And how the Liver Buildings loomed
on cliffs that once were docks
now high above their heads – so far
they could not see the clocks

And Moses muttered something
his voice an utter blur
- so difficult to comprehend
through so much facial hair.

Some remarked how tired he looked
- his staff now seemed to quiver
and what’s that watery trickling sound?
and: Here comes the river!

And everybody for themselves
legged it to higher ground
they clung to ropes or climbed the walls.
Only a few were drowned.

This side is ace, the rest agreed,
(except the drugs and crime)
if there was a just a way for us
to come here all the time.

And so they built a tunnel
for they knew – without a doubt –
if they did it without Moses
they could get across for nowt.

But we all know that nothing’s free
- even a giant hole.
You can cross the Mersey any time
but the tunnel takes its toll.

So Wirral folk still stranded
on the river’s other side
still talk about the time that
Moses came to Merseyside.

And we all smile wistfully
when we think about how Moses
gets almost everywhere for free
while we pay through our noses.