Anna Robinson (British Working Class Poets)

Anna Robinson

 

Anna Robinson was born and brought up in Central London. She writes about working class experience because its the only one she knows.

 

What is History, Discuss?

 

History is and was and so is that patch

of pavement where one tiny leaf shape

is never wet no matter how much rain.

It’s in the shards of clay pipes on the banks

of the Thames and the salt-glaze fragments.

It’s in the loose change in my pocket

and the fact that there is never any

loose change in my pocket. It’s in the bits

and bobs, the fairy on the rock cake,

at the foot of our stairs. It’s t’ick

as a coddle and mild as milk.

 

There’s a king and queen and offspring

and they’re effing and blinding or not –

‘cause that’s common! It’s in the darkness,

the rose moon, a clear deep navy sky

and a box of Price’s candles to light

the longest street market in London

where we ply, plight and sing a bit.

It’s in the pain of home and the urge

to command that pain with real true facts.

It is what it is, although that’s contentious.

It’s a bumble bee, a Brussels sprout,

and sometimes, even, a brown-tail moth.

 

GoScratchYerself -

i.m. Aunt Beat

 

Wha’dus she mean? Is she chuckin’ ya’rin, fa’ ya’ sawce -

to tha| room where no wun stayz, if they don’| ‘av ta,

 

are ya’ bein’ mayd ta si| on a sowfa, oose faydin’ pa|ern leaps

sudden-like - acrosh’ya - wiv a ping you can almost ‘ear -

 

fayverin’ yur’ankles an’ wrists - or is she callin’ you a mu| -

or a pigeon, or any beast ov’a fiyald - or is she suggestin’ maybe

 

you dohn’| wash? She is ‘avin’ a larff. ‘Er fin showlders movin’

inside ’er lemon cardigan, which is nylon an’ noo an’ very clean.

 

Meanwhile a ghost of ‘erself is bizy in the upstairs room, pu|ing

moff-balls in ‘er slippers, wrappin’ ‘er good skir| in wax paypa.

 

The Back Room

 

How many bodies have lain in this room -

letting the sleep breath rise, coming to

with the sun, letting out groans as they shift

their legs. One, then the other. Have risen,

 

letting their wake breath rise, steady,

and lit a flame - lifted or switched a kettle.

Their hands, one then the other, steady.

Found bread in a container for bread

 

while the lit flame burns under the kettle,

found some butter in a container for butter.

Their hands: one then the other, steady,

spreading what tastes they can bear.

 

Gostratchyerself is written in London accent with my punctuation mark | which is a London style glottal stop and is from The Finders of London Enitharmon Press 2010. The other two/three are from my latest book 'Whatsname Street' published by Smokestack books 2021.  


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